Meyer made right move to resign
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At the SEC championship game in Atlanta, he looked like a balloon about to pop.
Sure, all losing coaches are frustrated, but instead of jumping around, yelling at people, throwing towels or headsets or kicking water buckets, Meyer just got redder and redder, balling it up inside like a black knot.
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Every coach has passion, stress and long hours.
Even a guy like Pete Carroll, who always looks like he might have been surfing this morning, carries a quiet intensity that can be pulled out whenever it’s needed.
But Meyer is different.
He always looks like a walking Vesuvius, with all the emotions that come from having the best winning percentage of any active head coach bubbling just below the surface like magma among shifting plates.
When he speaks, the words are measured, but the quivering, fast-twitch muscles in his face tell you this is a guy with a lot going on. After the loss to Alabama in Atlanta, even the most innocuous question looked as if it might spark an eruption.
Still, Meyer appeared to be in great shape. Even his hair hadn’t lost its color. But the eyes always made you take a few tentative steps back. No matter when you caught him, he looked like Michael Douglas in the opening scene of Falling Down, you know, right before he leaves his car in the middle of the freeway and shoots up the fast-food restaurant.
Throughout the naughts, no coach was as close to perfect as Meyer.
But while most coaches hold perfection out as a worthy but elusive goal, guys like Meyer wake up every morning expecting it.
And when they fall short, whether it’s at the office or the golf course or the breakfast table, they react.
Bobby Knight yells, throws chairs, curses, breaks golf clubs and ultimately puts his hands on somebody’s throat.
Heart trouble, unfortunately, is. According to Lou Holtz, who hired Meyer as an assistant at Notre Dame and spoke with him moments after he talked to his team, Meyer has a family history of heart disease and is taking unspecified medications. At 45, he’s in the middle of the hot zone for heart problems. Excessive stress and sodium are the first things any competent physician would insist he eliminate.
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Dynasty coaches are like comets — brilliant and rare. One reason is how their bodies react. Bear Bryant couldn’t live without coaching. He died within a year of retiring. It looks like Urban Meyer can’t live with it.
At least he figured that out before something more tragic than early retirement figured it out for him.