GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) â€” Florida football coach Urban Meyer is stepping down after the Gators appearance in the Outback Bowl.
The 46-year-old Meyer led Florida to two national titles but began to show the strain of his high-profile job last season when he briefly quit in December but then returned the next day. He cited health concerns last year when he quit. He had been hospitalized with chest pains after the Gators lost to Alabama in last season's Southeastern Conference championship game.
This time he did not mention his health being an issue.
"At this time in my life, however, I fully grasp the sacrifices my 24/7 profession has demanded of me, and I know it is time to put my focus on my family and life away from the field. The decision to step down was a difficult one," he said in a statement released by the school Wednesday. "But, after spending more than two decades motivating and celebrating the young men I've been so proud to coach, I relish the opportunity to cheer for my three terrific kids as they compete in their own respective sports."
AOL FanHouse first reported the resignation.
This season has been a struggle for the Gators, who finished the regular season at 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the SEC. A 31-7 drubbing at Florida State on Nov. 27 gave Florida five regular-season losses for the first time since 1988.
Still, the Gators will play Penn State in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1.
"It's been an honor and privilege to have Urban Meyer be our football coach for six years," Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said in a statement. "He has given everything he has to this institution and we are grateful for the experiences."
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