Coach to take leave of absence

NEW ORLEANS – Florida coach Urban Meyer is taking an indefinite leave of absence instead of resigning and expects to be on the sideline leading the Gators when next season opens.

"I do in my gut believe that will happen," Meyer said today at a Sugar Bowl news conference.

Offensive coordinator Steve Addazio will run the team during Meyer's absence, but Meyer will be the coach against No. 4 Cincinnati on New Year's Day.

"It's full speed ahead. We're going to do everything possible to win this game," he said.

Less than 24 hours after resigning because of health concerns, Meyer changed his mind. He said he was offered and encouraged to take a leave of absence earlier in the week by the university president. Today, after conferring with athletic director Jeremy Foley and his family he "accepted the offer to improve my health."

The 45-year-old Meyer said being with his players at a "spirited practice" this morning persuaded him not to resign.

"To not try would not be the right thing to do," he said.

On Saturday night, Meyer shocked college football when he said he was stepping down after five seasons as Gators coach.

After the Southeastern Conference championship game three weeks ago, Meyer spent several hours in a Gainesville, Fla., hospital because of chest pains.

Meyer said today he had experienced similar problems at times this season but had not had a heart attack. However, he would not elaborate on his physical condition. When asked if doctors advised him to stop coaching, Meyer again declined to answer.

Meyer is married with three children – the oldest recently started college at Georgia Tech.

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