Early Monday morning, Jay Gruden was fired as the head coach of the NFL’s Washington Redskins, and as soon as that happened it was only a matter of time until Ryan Day’s name would be mentioned as a candidate to replace him.
Day — who is now 9-0 as a college head coach — came to Ohio State from the NFL, and former Buckeye quarterback Dwayne Haskins was the franchise’s first-round draft pick last season, so the connection is an easy one to make.
On Tuesday, however, Day shot down that conjecture by saying the Redskins have not contacted him and he’s pretty happy where he is right now.
“I appreciate you asking,” Day said. “And I think being in a place like Ohio State anytime there’s success, things like this are going to come up. I don’t really ever want to talk about any of that stuff. I love it here. This is where I want to be.
“Whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, even for the next five, 10, hopefully 20 years, while I’m here I really don’t want to comment on any of that because I don’t think it’s good for anybody.”
It is rare for a currently-employed coach to express interest in another job, so Day’s response to the Redskins speculation was expected. But that doesn’t mean it’s without merit.
Day has turned down other jobs in the past. The NFL’s Tennessee Titans were reportedly courting him last year to be their offensive coordinator this year, but he declined the offer. It has also been reported that Day was offered the head coaching position at Mississippi State following the 2017 season.
Part of life as a coach is climbing the ladder, but eventually a coach finds a rung he likes and calls it home. The ladder wears people out and it was one of the reasons why Ohio State was so enticing to Day and his wife Nina when Urban Meyer came calling after the 2016 season.
After three jobs in three years from 2014-2016, Meyer was offering the Days yet another change, but one that could last much longer than any job he had before it.
“When we had to move our family three times in three years,” Day said of when he decided that it was time for a long-term plan with the Buckeyes. “That was not good. And that’s the thing that I don’t know if people realize. You have to move your family — we have a young family. When you’re moving them all over the place, it is the worst thing to go home to your family and tell them we’ve got to move again. They’ve got to be the new kid again and your wife has to figure out a new set of friends again. It’s just not good.
“Certainly Nina and I didn’t grow up that way. We grew up in the same house for our whole lives and all our families still back in our hometown. And that was hard times for us. I said ‘never again. I don’t want to do it anymore.’ She said the same thing. That was the decision that we made.”
Now three years into his stay at Ohio State, Day said he hopes he’s at OSU for 20 years, so it sounds like he is just getting started.
But when asked if he might be in line for a 28-year run like Woody Hayes, he wasn’t quite as definitive as before.
“Oh boy, I don’t know if I could make it that long,” he said laughing, “but a good problem to have.”