In the press conference that announced Urban Meyer’s retirement as Ohio State’s head football coach and introduced Ryan Day as his successor, OSU athletic director Gene Smith said that while he had informally considered a number of other names as potential Meyer replacements, that process never got very far, because he was confident that Day was the man to lead the Buckeye program moving forward.
However, on Saturday, The Toledo Blade’s David Briggs reported that there were four other coaches that Smith considered before deciding on Day. While Smith reportedly never reached out to these coaches to gauge their interest, the AD was interested in Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell, Syracuse coach Dino Babers, retired Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, and an unnamed NFL coach, according to a source.
Of the three names reported, all have Ohio connections, as Campbell was once the head coach at Toledo, and Babers at their rival Bowling Green. Though a graduate of Iowa University, Stoops is a Youngstown native.
Briggs doesn’t indicate what NFL coach might have been on Smith’s radar — nor does he outright say that it is a professional head coach. However, the immediate assumption is that it could be recent OSU assistant, and current Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel.
Smith reportedly talked privately with fellow College Football Playoff Selection Committee member Joe Castiglione, the AD at Oklahoma, about the decision. Not only does Castiglione know Stoops very well, but he also guided OU through a similar transition when Stoops left Norman and Lincoln Riley was named as his replacement.