Early on Tuesday, reports began to circulate that Ohio State Buckeyes head football coach Urban Meyer had decided to retire following the team’s Rose Bowl appearance on Jan. 1. In conjunction, current offensive coordinator Ryan Day will be elevated to head coach beginning on Jan. 2.
While the timing of the announcement caught some a little bit by surprise, its content has been speculated about for months. In August, Day was tapped to be the team’s interim head coach. Then in September, rumors swirled that he would be OSU’s coach-in-waiting, and last week, reports indicated that he had been given a raise, and that Meyer’s future at the school was in doubt.
However, now that we know for sure that the Rose Bowl will be Meyer’s final game leading the Buckeyes, he addressed the media, along with Day and athletic director Gene Smith.
Watch the video and check out the notes from the press conference:
Athletic Director Gene Smith
- The AD said it is “a great time in our history” to be able to celebrate a coach and his family for all that they have done for the OSU community, and to welcome a coach and his family to this new position.
- Smith said that Urban Meyer has far exceeded expectations in not only what he did for Ohio State, but in what he did in elevating the play across the entire Big Ten conference.
- He continued by saying that Meyer was an incredible innovator both on the field and in helping making the lives of his players better.
- Smith thanked Urban and Shelley Meyer and said that they are “exemplary people.”
- The AD said that he is excited to welcome Urban to his new position with the university, and joked that he would be sending him his new position’s objectives soon.
- Smith concluded introducing Meyer by saying, “You rocked it brother.”
- When introducing Day, Smith said, “He offers us terrific, terrific skill and talent. We’re just so fortunate that he was here.”
Head Coach Urban Meyer
- He opened by wishing his grandson Troy a happy second birthday, since that was the reason they were all gathered.
- “My goal has always been to make this one of the most premier and comprehensive programs in the country,” Meyer said. “We’ve worked extremely hard to make Buckeye Nation proud.”
- He added that as an Ohio native it has always been his dram to coach in the Rose Bowl, and is looking forward to helping his team prepare to play the Washington Huskies on Jan. 1.
Head Coach (in-waiting) Ryan Day
- Day said that Gene Smith and his wife Shiela are the reason that Ohio State has the best athletic department in the country.
- The new head coach looked directly at Urban Meyer and said, “Your legacy will live on here forever.” He then told him that he was welcome to sit in the box and yell at the coaches when they make the decision to go for it on fourth down or not.
- Day said that “The culture that Urban Meyer has established here is strong.”
- He continued by saying that he would give Buckeye Nation his word that he would give everything that he had to continue the success that the program has had under Meyer.
- “You have my word that I am going to give everything I have to continue the excellence and tradition for winning that this program has,” Day said.
- Day said that his staff would be committed to recruiting Ohio high school talent.
- The new head coach said that he embraces the responsibility of winning the rivalry game. “It didn’t take long for me to figure out what the expectations are for Ohio State football. No. 1, win the rivalry game, and No. 2, win every game after that.”
- “I feel confident about our offense’s ability to adapt to our personnel year in and year out,” he said as he broke down the offensive goals for his team.
Question and Answer Segment
- When asked why the school didn’t conduct a national search, Smith said that they knew that they had their guy. They recognized Day’s talent early, and that he had an opportunity to audition earlier this year. He said that Day excelled in navigating the unique complications that Ohio State presents.
- Smith said that he knew about a month ago that if Meyer did leave, that Day would be the man to replace him. He said that “Our program does not need disruption... We had a talented and gifted guy.”
- Meyer reiterates that “This is home.”
- He admitted that he started suffering additional health issues last year. During the Penn State game last season was when it reemerged. He said that he began having conversations with his doctors, Gene Smith, and his family about whether or not to continue coaching.
- Meyer said that knowing that Day is an elite coach makes the handing off of the position much easier.
- Meyer said that he hopes to stay involved, but there didn’t seem to be a specific plan in place.
- He said that while the suspension at the beginning of the season was difficult for him, but did not have an impact on his health.
- Meyer said that to be a successful head coach, you have to have “genuine love and care” for players, and he saw that with Day.
- He said that this would be a really tough day if the program was a mess. However, as the program is in great shape, he feels comfortable turning it over. “To be able to know that we did right, at least we felt like we did right, this makes it that much easier,” he said.
- Smith said that understanding how athletics, academics, compliance, etc. operates does present a learning curve, and since Day has lived that, there won’t be as big of a jump for him as if they had brought in someone new.
- However, he did confirm that Day wouldn’t be there if they didn’t think that he could win games.
- Day said that he is humbled to take over for Meyer, but he knows that what Meyer set up will help him be successful.
- When asked about the retention of the coaching staff, he said that they haven’t really discussed it, because of the bowl game and the upcoming signing day. He said that after the bowl game they will evaluate the staff.
- Meyer and Smith joked with retiring Columbus Dispatch beat reporter Tim May when he asked about how Meyer made the decision to retire.
- He said that the signing day later this month played an impact in his decision. He said that he didn’t want to mislead recruits.
- He said that Smith gave Meyer until this morning to make a decision. He talked to a few recruits to gauge their reaction, and they were all in complete support of Day and the program.
- Meyer said that he was fairly certain that he will not coach again. He plans to stay in Columbus.
- Meyer said that easily the thing that he will miss the most of being a head coach is his interactions with the players. He said that he spoke with Terry McLaurin and Parris Campbell for about an hour last night, and he hopes that he can stay connected with them in the future.
- Throughout the press conference, Meyer was effusive with his love for Ohio State. “I believe in Ohio State.”
- He said that he would not have been able to take over Ohio State at Day’s age.
- Meyer said that Day will be the head coach out on the road, and he will talk to players on campus.
- Day said that he is hoping to talk to some of the defensive recruits, since he hasn’t had as much of an opportunity to build relationships with them.
- Meyer said that the style of coaching that he’s done for 33 years just wasn’t sustainable. He said he tried to delegate, but “the product began to fail,” and he felt that he wasn’t doing right by the players or of Smith. He knew that he couldn’t physically continue to put that work in.
- Meyer deflected a question about how the suspension that started the season impacted the decision. Although when pressed, he admitted that it was one of the factors.
- He said that while OSU’s defensive players don’t know Day as well, the offensive players are “over the moon” that Day will be the new head coach.
- Day said that he shares a lot of philosophies, morals and priorities with Meyer, so a lot of how they do things will carry over. They will make changes moving forward, but much of what Meyer has built will remain in place.
- Meyer said that Day has to be himself. He said he got the same advice from Lou Holtz and Earle Bruce. Players are too smart to accept coaches who are trying to be someone else.
- Meyer said that defeating Michigan was “one of the greatest moments of our life,” and that he is always looking for his wife and family after games.
- When asked about how the suspension will impact his legacy, he said that he is sure it will in some way, but he hadn’t thought about it much. He admitted that his legacy is important to him, but individuals can only control so much of that.
- “That was a disappointing time,” he said. “I can lie to you say that’s not important to me, but any human, that’s important to them.”
- Day said that he remembers being a child on his grandfather’s couch watching Ohio State play “The Team Up North,” and it was always a dream to be the head coach at Ohio State.
- He said he sat around with his family and discussed what this opportunity means for them as a group, but there really wasn’t much to contemplate.
- Meyer admitted that there had been discussions before this season about the end of his tenure. He said that while he wouldn’t have thought the end would have come after this season, but he expected it to be sooner rather than later.
- Meyer said that he hopes his legacy is “the truth.” He added that he hopes his legacy is that he spent 33 years devoted to caring about student athletes. He discussed their 100 percent job placement guarantee that he makes players; assuming that they “do right” while in school.
- Day said that he hopes that he will always have Meyer as a resource, and that the door is always open for him in the future.