GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida football coach Urban Meyer has stepped down, citing health concerns. Meyer will coach the Gators for the final time in the Sugar Bowl against Cincinnati on Jan. 1.

"I have given my heart and soul to coaching college football and mentoring young men for the last 24-plus years and I have dedicated most of my waking moments the last five years to the Gator football program," Meyer, 45, said in a release. "I have ignored my health for years, but recent developments have forced me to re-evaluate my priorities of faith and family.

"After consulting with my family, [Florida president Bernie] Machen, [athletic director] Jeremy Foley and my doctors, I believe it is in my best interest to step aside and focus on my health and family."

In five seasons at Florida, Meyer has a 56-10 record. He led the Gators to SEC and national titles in 2006 and 2008. Meyer came to Florida following successful runs at Bowling Green and Utah. In 2004, Meyer's undefeated Utah team became the first from outside the six automatic qualifying conferences to earn a BCS bowl berth.

Meyer was hospitalized Dec. 6, the day after Florida's loss to Alabama in the SEC championship game. He told The Gainesville Sun he had suffered chest pains before going to the hospital.

"Coach Meyer and I have talked this through and I realize how hard this was for him to reach this decision," Foley said in the release. "But, the bottom line is that Coach Meyer needed to make a choice that is in the best interest of his well being and his family. I certainly appreciate what he has meant to the University of Florida, our football program and the Gator Nation. I have never seen anyone more committed to his players, his family and his program. Above all, I appreciate our friendship."

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.