On Monday, sources revealed to Yahoo Sports that Ohio State University football coach Urban Meyer will step down after his team plays against Washington in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. Ohio State confirmed the news on Tuesday.
The cause for the move is said to be multifaceted, but primarily, according to reporting from Yahoo, the move stems from the positive state of the program he first took over seven years ago. Basically, it’s in a good place so he’s comfortable heading off to wherever 54-year-old former college football coaches go (overbearing gym teacher?). However, there are other unsaid factors at play.
Earlier in the season, Meyer struggled with “aggressive headaches” and admitted to brain surgery in the spring of 2014. At the time of concerns about his health, Meyer said he had no plans to stop coaching the Buckeyes.
Then there was the handling of former assistant, Zach Smith, who was accused of domestic violence a few years ago, news that surfaced over the summer. After being put on administrative leave, Meyer was suspended for three games for how he handled the 2015 domestic violence charge against Smith. Reports of ill treatment of former players at Florida, where he coached from 2005-2010, surfaced at the same time as the Smith revelations. All of it adds up and probably plays a bigger role than Meyer or OSU will ever publicly admit.
OSU’s offensive coordinator, 39-year-old Ryan Day, who helmed the team during Meyer’s three-game suspension, will take over the University reports. During his seven years in Columbus, Meyer posted an 82-9 record (54-4 in Big Ten play)—including 7-0 against rival Michigan—and led the Buckeyes to the 2014 national title.
During his former stint at Utah, Meyer won the 2004 Fiesta Bowl after leading the Utes to an undefeated season. His spread offense that season paved the way for its mainstream acceptance in the college game and increasingly in the pro game as the rules protecting offensive players have expanded.