News broke this morning when it was announced that Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer is retiring.
Meyer is one of the most successful coaches in all of college football. His 7 seasons at Ohio State were immensely successful, as Meyer went 82-9, and won a National Championship. Prior to this, he was 65-15 during his 6 seasons at Florida, and won 2 BCS titles. If we’re being honest, he’s probably the second best head coach in college for his generation, behind Nick Saban.
So why am I bringing this up? Because I think there’s a chance he goes to the NFL.
When Hue Jackson was fired by the Cleveland Browns, respected Big J journalist Big Cat came in with a scoop. His sources told him Urban Meyer was going to Green Bay, Bob Stoops was going to Ohio State, and Mike McCarthy would be the next coach of the Cleveland Browns.
Well on Sunday, Mike McCarthy was abruptly fired as the coach of the Green Bay Packers. People thought it was odd that it happened so early, but the prevailing logic was that it was so Green Bay could have a head start on their coaching search. Makes sense.
So in less than 48 hours, Urban Meyer decides to retire from Ohio State… He did not wait until after his bowl game (Tuesday, January 1), but rather, got it out of the way four weeks in advance
(I have not seen any indication he is coaching Ohio State in the Rose Bowl).
The last day of the NFL regular season is December 30. Black Monday (i.e. the firing of coaches who do not lead their teams to the postseason) is the next day, and right after that, interviews galore will begin. Since Meyer is such a big name, being tied to any pro job prior to the Rose Bowl would have led to weeks of speculation, and an unfair focus on his team and job status (more on that below).
Maybe Meyer’s simply making himself available earlier to avoid the potential media circus, and allowing his successor to begin work right away… for the bowl game at least.
If Big Cat’s source is to be trusted, Urban Meyer may say he’s retiring, but after a few weeks of “consideration,” he’ll be back and looking for more.
Not so fast
Although Urban Meyer is 54, and an extremely talented coach, he has an awful health history. He suffered setbacks in 2009 due to his health, and almost stepped down then. Although he came back, after 2010 he retired from Florida, citing a desire to focus on his health and spend time with his family.
It was a quick retirement, because after one year at ESPN, he accepted an offer to coach Ohio State.
This past offseason cracks in his job status began to emerge due to his alleged knowledge of a scandal involving former assistant Zach Smith (I don’t want to get into it, it all makes me sick, and that goes for people who knew and said nothing). Meyer was placed on leave, and the decision was to suspend him for 3 games.
News came out around this time his health was a concern yet again, and the narrative was seemingly being created for him to step down.
Maybe Ohio State was looking for an honorable exit route for Meyer, a coach that brought the Buckeyes an immense amount of success since 2012, or maybe Meyer wanted a change, realizing if he stayed, he’d be fired. Nevertheless, Meyer has a track record of leaving jobs after a short amount of time for larger career moves.
Ohio State was Meyer’s dream job, and I could see a scenario where after doing well there, and his health being a concern, he might be satisfied with what he’s accomplished.
But… this smells a lot like how he ended up at Ohio State in 2012. He’s 54, and may not have another chance at coaching in the NFL. There’s probably not another job in college Meyer would want, so if he still wants to coach, why would he leave Ohio State?
If health is the true reason behind his retirement, I wish him well and hope he finds some comfort and peace, but I feel like the desire to coach will not leave him. 54 is a young age to hang ’em up, especially considering he did so once already (at the age of 46), only to come back a year later
If not the Green Bay job, I believe he will seek another head coaching gig in the NFL this offseason. If not this offseason, maybe he takes a year or two off and waits for a better job the NFL (*searches Urban Meyer and New Englan Patriots connections*), or waits for an opening at a historic program like USC or Notre Dame. Other than those two schools, I don’t know what he has left to accomplish in college.
I think we’ll hear more about Meyer to the NFL in the coming weeks.
UPDATE (9:10 AM): I am now seeing Urban Meyer will still coach Ohio State in the Rose Bowl
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