Urban Meyer made Ohio State the dominant program of the Big 10 for years and won a national championship. Now it appears he’s done.
According to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports, the decision was made that he would step down as head coach and pass the torch to highly-respected offensive coordinator Ryan Day. Why do it now? There is any number of explanations. Meyer’s reputation had taken a grievous hit following the fiasco involving his former assistant coach Zach Smith who reportedly abused his spouse. Something the head coach knew about but did nothing.
Then there’s the ongoing rumors that he’s been suffering from increasing health complications. He’s been living with a cyst in his brain for years. Something that can give him crippling headaches if not monitored properly. Something that no doubt is further aggravated by the rigors of being a head coach with all that hard work and stress. Reports are the symptoms have gotten worse the past two years, even affecting his memory.
However, the primary reason was much simpler according to Thamel.
"“Ohio State coach Urban Meyer plans to step down and will coach his final game in the Rose Bowl, sources told Yahoo Sports.A myriad of factors contributed to Meyer’s decision, but sources say foremost among them was his happiness with the state of the Ohio State program he inherited seven years ago. Meyer, 54, will be replaced by Ryan Day, the 39-year-old offensive coordinator who served as Ohio State’s interim coach earlier this season. The university will announce Day as the permanent replacement on Tuesday, and the team was scheduled to be informed in a meeting early Tuesday morning.”"
Will Urban Meyer stay retired or make the jump to the NFL?
There is every possibility that Meyer is done with football for the foreseeable future. He’s won two national titles at two different programs. There really isn’t too much left for him to prove. At least not at the college level. What people will want to know moving forward is whether this is a decision to distance himself from the NCAA and make a long-anticipated jump to the NFL. Something he’s never done throughout his coaching career.
Being 54, his window won’t stay open forever. This might be his best and last chance with several opening expected to be available. That includes the Cleveland Browns who he wouldn’t even have to move far to take over. His eye for talent and reputation for coaching in big games would certainly have an allure to teams provided they can deal with the PR backlash attached to his controversy from earlier this year.
Much will depend on how he feels physically. The NFL is an even greater pressure cooker than college. He’d be dealing with the media a lot more often and not have near the same job security regardless of his reputation. Nick Saban didn’t care for that when he made the jump. Maybe Meyer can be different.