Less than 24 hours after Urban Meyer announced that he was stepping down as Florida coach, officials have found his replacement.
A press conference has been scheduled for Sunday afternoon to announce that Urban Meyer has been rehired to coach the team. Reports indicate that Meyer will first coach the team in Friday's Sugar Bowl, then take an indefinite leave of absence before returning. Steve Addazio, Florida's offensive coordinator, will guide the team in Meyer's absence.
"Our exhaustive search led us back to where we started," athletic director Jeremy Foley said. "There were many qualified candidates, but we were pleased to attract a coach of Urban's caliber."
Meyer, 45, previously coached the team from 2005 until Saturday, when he announced his resignation because of health concerns. He had a record of 56-10 before stepping down.
Meyer said he consulted with Brett Favre before deciding to return. "Brett gave me some good advice on how to handle the situation," Meyer said.
Hiring old coaches has become routine at Florida. Basketball coach Billy Donovan left in 2007 to coach the Orlando Magic, but he returned to the Swamp after only five days at his new job.
Not everybody in Gainesville was pleased to hear that Meyer was returning. Police Chief Frank Hooper is expected to ask the City Council for a doubling of the force to deal with the general lawlessness surrounding the Gator program.
There have been 36 felony arrests involving Meyer's players, and the Orlando Sentinel reported last week that there have been 251 traffic citations involving Gators, including 12 with seven or more tickets.
"I've had several members of the staff ask for a leave of absence because of health reasons," Hooper said. "The stresses surrounding the job have simply become overwhelming."