UM’s Shannon feels for Meyer

Palm Beach Post (Florida) 
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

ORLANDO — Randy Shannon and Urban Meyer haven’t always seen eye to eye.

There was a frosty handshake between the two coaches at the end of last year’s game between Miami and Florida after the Gators kicked a 29-yard field goal with 25 seconds to play in their 26-3 victory.

But on Sunday, Shannon put aside any past friction and expressed empathy for Meyer, who resigned as Florida coach Saturday for health reasons before announcing on Sunday that he was instead taking a leave of absence.

Shannon said all coaches share a fraternity and referred to Meyer in familial terms.

“You don’t want to see anything happen to anybody,” Shannon said Sunday after UM completed practice for Tuesday’s Champs Sports Bowl against Wisconsin. “This job that we do is serious business. I wish him well and a (quick) recovery from his medical conditions. I just hate to see a family member go through that.”

LSU coach Les Miles said he did not “begrudge” Meyer’s change of heart, adding he was glad his SEC rival had decided to return.

“I certainly understand, everybody makes personal decisions,” said Miles, whose Tigers face Penn State in the Capital One Bowl on New Year’s Day. “Who’s to say that stepping aside for some amount of time is not a wise decision? Certainly not me. I’m glad to have him back whenever he gets back.”

Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman said he faced a similar situation to Meyer’s — wondering what coaching was doing to his health. Sherman declined to give specifics, but said most coaches are in the same predicament.

“The burnout factor is a reality in this profession because it is 24/7, 365 days a year,” Sherman told the Austin American-Statesman. “Recruiting never stops. Football never stops. You’re constantly at it.”

Shannon said even the fittest coaches can have problems. He mentioned ex-UM assistant Chuck Pagano, who had a mild heart attack while he was on the staff of coach Butch Davis (1995-2000).

Pagano, now a secondary coach with the Baltimore Ravens, was a fitness buff who exercised on a treadmill four to five times a day.

“And he came down with a heart attack,” Shannon said. “You just don’t know.”

After Meyer announced he was resigning Saturday, UM football message boards began to speculate how the upheaval at UF would help the Hurricanes’ recruiting.

But Shannon doesn’t agree.

“It doesn’t change anything in recruiting,” Shannon said. “Coaches have gone different places and those schools have continued to recruit the same type of players. Players like who they like.”

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