Congratulations to Urban Meyer as he readies to leave the sidelines as Ohio State’s head coach following the 2019 Rose Bowl game versus Washington. If someone had told me back on November 28, 2011, that I would have Urban Meyer for only seven years, but I would get one national championship, plus seven straight wins over That Team Up North, I would have taken that deal in a heartbeat. And I believe most Ohio State fans would also.
The transition to Ryan Day as the new head coach prompted me to come up with some different perspectives on what this means for Ohio State football, even beyond the upcoming 2019 season. Once the calendar switches to January 2nd, Coach Day will take full command of the program, and I believe Ohio State football is in very capable hands as Ohio State will begin a new era.
Below are three thoughts I have on the transition from Urban Meyer to Ryan Day.
This Decision Reflects The Importance Of Recruiting Continuity
Throughout his tenure as Ohio State’s head coach, Urban Meyer continually emphasized the importance of recruiting. With the early signing period rapidly approaching (December 19th), Ohio State could not allow for a lengthy national search that would involve external candidates.
Even Urban Meyer stated, “If you sign a scholarship and the coach decides to leave after that they’re free to go. So this was — and people will say, why would you let recruiting get in the way. That’s a silly question. That’s the blood — you want to have a good team you recruit. And you recruit very hard. So that put a little push on it. And to be honest, I didn’t want to mislead recruits. Gene and I both felt — not felt, we knew — and that’s what made it now, the decision now.”
With the 2019 recruiting class in the balance, Ohio State made the proper decision to stick with the known in Ryan Day, versus the unknown in somebody else. Because of that, the possibility of major disruptions to the program have been dramatically reduced.
Urban Meyer Has Begun His Own Ohio State Coaching Tree
This one may seem a little awkward, but allow me to elaborate.
While reflecting upon the various Ohio State coaching changes that have taken place in my lifetime, it seems as though there were usually some kind of ties to the program that were from a previous coach. For example, after Woody Hayes was fired, Ohio State hired Earle Bruce, a former Hayes assistant from 1966-1971. Jim Tressel (1983-1985) and Urban Meyer (1986-1987) were former assistants for Earle Bruce.
Even though it was only for one season, Luke Fickell (2002-2010) fell under that category, after Jim Tressel was forced to resign in May of 2011.
While Urban Meyer has had several former assistants leave and become successful head coaches at other programs around the country, Ryan Day is the first Meyer assistant to have the opportunity to lead the Ohio State program. Unlike Meyer’s predecessors, the ascension of Ryan Day is coming in under a positive transition, which leads me to…
A Positive Historic Transition From One Coach To The Next
For the first time since Paul Brown voluntarily left Ohio State in 1944 due to this little thing called World War II, Ohio State has a former head coach who is leaving on his own terms.
I was only a child when Woody Hayes was fired following the 1978 season, so I cannot write accurately about the mood of the time. I can recall vividly the firings of Earle Bruce in November of 1987, John Cooper in January of 2001, and the aforementioned Jim Tressel forced resignation in May of 2011.
This move from Urban Meyer to Ryan Day is not only maintaining the continuity of what Urban Meyer built from 2012-2018, but is breaking precedent from what has traditionally earned Ohio State an unwelcome moniker of “The Graveyard Of Coaches.”