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He called assistant coaches, many of whom were on the road recruiting, earlier this week to relay the news. Quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler told the AP he was “stunned” and that no one saw this coming.

“We’ll be fine,” said Loeffler, adding that Meyer was planning to meet with his staff Wednesday night. “It happens in this profession. We’re just happy for him. He’s doing it the right way.”

AOL FanHouse first reported the resignation, and fellow coaches were quick to praise his efforts at Florida.

“The world of college football will miss Urban,” said former USC coach Pete Carroll, who left his job for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. “He did a great job coaching at Florida. He had major personal issues and health issues a year ago, and I’m sure that he did everything he could to fight it off. Now he’s making decisions that are probably exactly what he needs to be doing.”

Added former Florida coach and current South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier: “I believe he will coach again some day, but if he doesn’t, he will go down as one of the best coaches in college football history.”

Meyer left open the possibility of returning to the sideline, but said it was not going to happen in the “immediacy.”

He plans to catch his daughters’ volleyball matches _ his oldest is a sophomore at Georgia Tech and the other will attend Florida Gulf Coast next fall _ and catch more of his son’s athletic events.

“There’s not a perfect time, however, this is probably about as good a time you can have,” Meyer said.

Former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow applauded Meyer’s decision.

“I respect that Coach Meyer had the courage to make the decision that was right for himself and his family,” the Denver Broncos quarterback said in a statement. “He will be blessed and better off for it. I am truly glad that he’s happy and no matter what, we both will be Gators for the rest of our lives.”

The decision to walk away was even tougher because of Florida’s struggles this season. The Gators were near the bottom the SEC in every offensive category, got blown out in games against Alabama, South Carolina and Florida State, and finished 7-5.

It was the most losses in Meyer’s 10-year coaching career.

Several freshmen transferred, others threatened to leave and there seemed to be a huge divide between the team’s underachieving seniors and Meyer’s highly touted newcomers. Players refused to point fingers all season, but there were outcries for personnel and assistant coaching changes. There also was another arrest, the 30th involving 27 players during Meyer’s tenure.

“I just think Florida deserves the best, and I’m not sure we gave them my best this year,” he said.

Meyer seemingly didn’t give his family his best, either.

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