Meyer Calls In the Reinforcements

By Kyle Rowland on June 21, 2012 at 10:00a

The lifeblood of universities throughout the country is alumni. Ohio State is no different, and with more than half a million living alumni around the world, OSU is able to have a footprint that rivals the British Empire – the sun never sets on a Buckeye.

Through countless actions, alumni contribute to the betterment of Ohio State, nearly all of which goes to education. Similar to the mission of the academic side of the university, the athletics department also revolves around the past. Former players provide donations, time, lessons and support. They bridge a gap in time and connect the past eras to the present.

The fraternity of Ohio State football players – former and current – is a tight-knit, amalgamation. In the wake of the scandal that cost Jim Tressel his job – and former player-turn-attorney Chris Cicero his law license – players rallied around one another and referred to the bond they shared as a “sacred brotherhood.”

Urban Meyer was hired as Ohio State’s head coach on November 29. Less than four weeks later he wrote a stirring letter to former players, telling them they were welcome inside the program anytime and promising a product they’d be proud of.

As the new Head Football Coach of The Ohio State University Football Team, I extend a special welcome and invitation to all former Buckeye players to join us whenever your schedules allow. The greatness of The Ohio State University and its proud and hallowed traditions come from your contributions and your continued support and attendance of any events that you wish to attend which emphasizes the importance of the great Buckeye Nation.

I also urge you to renew acquaintances and memories of your time in Columbus. While attending The Ohio State University, you contributed to making it a premier academic institution that ranks in the top 1% of colleges and universities in the nation. As you tour the campus, the Woody Hayes Athletic Facility and Ohio Stadium, I am sure that you will feel the energy and excitement of our student athletes and staff, and see the continued growth of Buckeye Football consistent with the tradition that all of you contributed to building.

The tradition of the Big 10 Conference and national championships at The Ohio State University are consistent with the expectations of all former players and alumni. I know that such expectations were a part of the legacies of great Hall of Fame coaches Woody Hayes, Earle Bruce, John Cooper and future Hall of Famer Jim Tressel.

I can only commit to you that I will recruit the best student athletes, coach them as hard as possible to give the maximum effort for four to six seconds on every play in every game on every Saturday that they represent “The Ohio State University.” With intensity and emotion, I am confident that your Buckeye Pride along with your support and loyalty will be rewarded by a hard hitting, dedicated and tough effort from your Buckeye Football Team.

Former Buckeye players and Buckeye alumni and friends everywhere built the great legacy of The Ohio State University. Your loyalty, contributions and sacrifices are sacred and appreciated by all of us. Shelley and I welcome you and pledge to you that your 2012 Buckeye Football Team will add to the legacy of Ohio Stadium.

OSU prides itself at being the best. At everything. 

The gesture was well-received, as the Buckeye Twittersphere immediately blew up with amazement from former players after the letters arrived. Players were encouraged by the warmness, confident in Meyer’s commitment and shocked that he tracked them down.

“I didn’t think you could reach out like you used to be able to,” former OSU running back Pete Johnson said. “The NCAA has all these rules now.”

Johnson wasn’t the only former Buckeye to ponder the NCAA’s foolhardiness. Dave Foley, a captain on the 1968 national championship team, has felt a tinge of animosity toward the giant bully since murmurs about rules violations began in December 2010. Some 18 months later, Foley is squarely in the corner of Team Meyer, but he still isn’t keen on how his program was treated, as if it were a peasant in North Korea.

“I was disappointed with the way the situation evolved,” Foley said. “I have fairly strong feelings against the NCAA. It seems like whatever the regulations are, they over enforce the small things, and they will only find a big thing every four or five years, and then they come in and regulate it and ruin the schools’ program. But the violator is long gone, so I think the actual punishment and the wrongdoing don’t much up.”

Ike Kelley: a man you want on your side.

While a segment of the fan base has trouble overlooking Meyer beating Ohio State over the head repeatedly to win the 2006 national title, former players are decidedly in favor of Meyer coming back onboard in Columbus.

“He’s doing the right things at the right time,” former All-American linebacker Ike Kelley said. “He’s got a lot on his plate right now. I played in the Buckeye Boosters golf outing Monday and he and his assistant coaches were there, and they are passionate about what they’re doing. Listening to them speak, you can tell this is something special coming on.

“I’m very excited about the season. We couldn’t have found a better coach. He’s got a great resume, and they’re paying him a pretty good dollar to be there, but I think he’ll produce. He’s produced everywhere he’s gone.”

Nothing revs up fans like winning, and Meyer did it often at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida. The frequency he racked up victories – similar to the rate at which the Big XII loses members – contributed to his popularity. But Meyer’s outreach to fans and former players also won him legions of supporters. After he took each job, whether it was at a tiny Northwest Ohio outpost or a dusty crossroads in Utah, Meyer incorporated alumni.  

Growing up in Ashtabula on Lake Erie, Meyer watched the Woody Hayes-coached Buckeyes run roughshod over the competition. An appreciation for the groundwork laid at Ohio State became ingrained in Meyer during a two-year stint as a graduate assistant in the 1980s. When you serve an apprenticeship under Earle Bruce – a man who revels in OSU’s past glory with a twinkle in his eye like Old St. Nick – you begin to bleed Scarlet and Gray. It was that passion and admiration that led Meyer to the players who helped make Ohio State a bastion of football might.


“We had invitations to go to any spring practice,” Foley said. “We’re having a golf outing this weekend for former players. One member of the coaching staff is at each hole, so we get a chance to meet every member of the staff and have a conversation with them. It’s a really nice way for old players to be connected to the program.

“I’m very excited about this season. I think the Buckeyes are definitely on their way back. You could feel that energy at the spring game.”

It was at that game in April, on a gray, dreary day in Ohio Stadium, where Meyer, again, was introduced to the devotion of Ohio State’s followers. More than 80,000 of them showed up for a glimpse at the guy who was the subject of so many whispers – was he indeed a curer and miracle-maker? World peace and an end to poverty hasn’t come out of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center – yet. But one can imagine Meyer is trying all he can.

Meyer’s previous trip to the old Horseshoe came on Sept. 3, when he was in the booth for ESPN calling the season opener versus Akron. When the band performed its traditional ramp entrance, Meyer admitted tears began rolling down his cheeks. The affection for Ohio State poured out of Meyer as if it were Niagara Falls. It happened again – twice – at the spring game, first when the band played “Hang On Sloopy” to usher in the fourth quarter and again when the team gathered in the south end zone for a rendition of “Carmen Ohio.” 

Said Johnson, “When you’re a Buckeye, you’re a Buckeye for life.” 



Alex's picture

I'm not scared to say it....I love Urban Meyer

tennbuckeye19's picture

Me too. ^
And man, Ike Kelly looks like one mean S.O.B. in that pic.

Kyle Rowland's picture

I agree. He actually looked about the same today, too. He's a very, very nice guy. If anyone ever gets the privilge to meet him, definitely take the opportunity. He will talk to you all day. And he still aboslutely loves OSU. 

Buckeyeneer's picture

He looks like a young version of Happy's boss from Happy Gilmore. I wouldn't mess with the guy at any age. "The nail comes out next week."

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

buckeyedude's picture

I was thinking the same thing, TennBuckeye. I was just waiting for lasers to shoot from his eyes, vaporizing Wolverines instantly wherever he encounters them.



DJ Byrnes's picture

Ohio State is no different, and with more than half a million living alumni around the world, OSU is able to have a footprint that rivals the British Empire – the sun never sets on a Buckeye.

This is my favorite sentence of yours yet, Lenin.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

Doc's picture

"The sun never sets on Buckeye Nation."  That would make a good tag line for the site, just sayin'.  I'm so jacked up for foozball I can not even stand it.  I might just go and tackle my Hygienist to get out some extra energy. (To clarify:  I mean tackle, not "tackle" like some of you pervs are thinking :})

I'm hiding baby and I'm dreaming
I'm riding down your moonlight mile

grant87's picture

“When you’re a Buckeye, you’re a Buckeye for life.” ...looks like I am doing life, lol.
Thanks enjoyed the read.

Maybe tomorrow, when today will be yesterday things will be clearer.


btalbert25's picture

Meyer is a hard guy to read because he says everything with pretty much the same emotion.  I don't know that I neccessarily believe everything he says about the Ohio State job, or if I really believe that Ohio State was the only job that he would of come bace for etc, but man he definitely knows how to say and do all the right things.  In that regard he reminds me a lot of some of the big time basketball coaches like Pitino or Calipari.  Everything he says in the media is calculated.  He knows exactly what the fans and media want to hear.  He does really cool stuff like this to keep alumni around.  He welcomes "rockstar" types like Tebow to come around.
Imagine how all this looks to a recruit or their parents.  You go through WHAC and see Tebow or Alex Smith, or any other of the NFL players Meyer has coached. .  You tour the campus and love it.  You come to a game for a visit and there on the sidelines are Eddie George and Troy Smith.  Maybe Chris Carter is there.  There's Herbie.  Then there's the competitive atmosphere he puts out there. The kid is going to be overwhelmed.  Then a parent sees how he reaches out to former players and keeps them part of the family.  They can see how much he loves HIS former players.  This guy is slick, no wonder he has so much success.  I'm so excited about this guy being on our side!!!!!

tennbuckeye19's picture

I get what you're saying about Meyer, but I don't think you can compare him with Pitino and Calipari. Pitino and Calipari are, at best, used car salesmen. 

btalbert25's picture

I'm just saying look at stuff they've done in the past at their programs.  Not much different.  They welcome former players back.  They know the exact buttons to push in the media to get the fanbase excited.  It's all calculated, and probably not all that genuine.  Only thing with Meyer that is different at Ohio State is that he can tell stories about living in Ohio, or being a graduate assitant at Ohio State.  He's done exactly the same stuff at Utah and Florida and it endeared the fans to him. 
I'm not saying he doesn't love Ohio State, just that there's a reason he does everything he does.  He's been an extremely popular coach everywhere, winning has a lot to do with it, but he knows that building good will with the fans and alumni is just as important.

Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture

With all due respect, I think you are way off base here.  He may have been saying all the right things.  But that doesn't mean there is a nefariousness underlying it.  The guy has a degree from here.  Surely, you don't think that doesn't mean something.  Or is the love of this university by everyone here just lip service and everyone just loves the football team?  Well, if it applies to you, why can't it apply to Urban Meyer ME '85?  
Sometimes, the cynicism in this world is over the top.  <shakes head sadly>

On the wall guarding the North Coast from all Weasel invasions.

btalbert25's picture

Wow, I never expected the reaction I'm getting on this.  I never said he hates Ohio State or doesn't love the degree he got from Ohio State or anything else.  I'm saying he knows what it takes to endear himself to fans, and that yes I don't necessarily believe it's all genuine. 
Last week he threw out the first pitch at the Reds game and spent time with the announcers saying he's always been a huge Reds fan and talked about how he loved going to games.  This week he through out the first pitch in Cleveland, I'm sure he said the same stuff to the Indians announcers.  Do I believe he's a diehard fan for both teams? Nope, but I'll tell ya what, being a diehard fan of either team, I'm going to love hearing that Ohio State's coach is also a huge fan of my team and can share stories and memories of the team that I love. 
That's all I'm saying.  I'm sure he  loves Ohio State, but you can probably find clips in the press where something at Florida moved him to tears as well.  My original point was, he knows what it takes to rally the troops, and he does it well.

tennbuckeye19's picture

BTALBERT - I get what you're saying. Coaches must be all things to all people and tell people what they want to hear and like politicians, shake hands, take pictures and hold and kiss babies. 
From what I have read about Meyer, every coaching position he has held, he has worked tirelessly to endear himself to people, to promote the program, and to excite the former players and the fans. I remember hearing that when he was HC at BG, he would never say no to anything. He would speak, make appearances, do anything to promote the program. 
My only problem with what you are saying is that what Urban does reminds you of Pitino and Calipari. 

btalbert25's picture

Just in that respect.  I didn't say they were the same guy.  There just aren't that many football coaches that know how to say and do all the right things in front of the camera and out in public or with the fans in general.  He hits a homerun everywhere he goes and not by accident.  He's prepared, he does his homework.  That's the extent of it.  Those 2 coaches, in my years of watching college basketball, were the best at handling the media, and preparing themselves, understanding and knowing what the fan base wants to see and hear etc.
Actually, especially in his UK days, Pitino and Meyer in approach aren't all that different.  Pitino always crushed his players with unbelievably hard work outs.  The practices were very difficult and competitive.  He ammased tons of talent, and I've never seen a coach handle the media better.  He knew things that were important to the people who lived in Kentucky, he reached out to former players, he would visit sick fans at the hospital  and things like that.  The only difference was, Pitino wasn't from Kentucky.  
Look at some of the other football coaches, who is as savy as Meyer?  Saban is an A-hole with the media most of the time.  Les Myles is always bumbling and rambling on about something.  Brady Hoke is always gnawing on a T-Bone.  He's the total package.  That's really all I was trying to say.  He knows how to get the most out of his players, energize the fan base, keep the alumni happy and donating, and recruit.  There aren't any football coaches at his level in all aspects.  Of course that's probably why he'll burn out in 5 years too.

Maestro's picture

I think what BT is saying is something that I have heard many times from people in the media.  I am not a huge Jim Rome fan, but I feel that he is spot on when he says that we don't REALLY know any of these athletes/coaches.  We may feel we have a good read on a celebrity's personality because we have read their books, listened to their interviews, or met them at an alumni event etc., but in reality we just don't know what the person is like behind closed doors.  We are all guessing and we all have different BS detectors.

vacuuming sucks

WC Buckeye's picture

I am guessing that there is little that moves Pitino or Calipari - either one - to tears except some new allegation (they are very much "why me?" types, IMHO). UFM is bonded at the heart to tOSU. Love that.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

spqr2008's picture

Kentucky college hoops, you'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villany.

sir rickithda3rd's picture

what about psu spqr2008?

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

BrewstersMillions's picture

Ya...PSU by a mile. Maybe even a Second one.

Do I come off as arrogant? Shame on me, I was hoping it would be more obvious.

tennbuckeye19's picture

Maestro - This is pure genius ^^^

ARMYBUCK's picture

I understand everything your saying BTALBERT and I agree mostly.  He definitely is methodical in the things that he says.  He just knows how to pull the right strings.  I do think Meyer loves this job but I do wonder sometimes if he would not have came back if it was ND calling.  Guess we will never really know.  I do know where he is now and Im excited to have him.  Guess thats all that really matters...FYI  I do believe he told the Reds announcers that hes always been an Indians fan which would make sense being from Ashtabula.

hodge's picture

To be fair, he did choose Florida over Notre Dame in 2005.  I agree, though, that if they were as top tier as OSU, it would be a tougher decision for him.

tennbuckeye19's picture

According to my ND fan friends, Meyer chose Florida over Notre Dame because they was unwilling to accomodate his requests for relaxing some of their academic requirements for football recruits. Whether or not that is true, I have no idea.
Yes, he grew up in Ohio and is a lifelong Buckeye, played @ UC, earned his master's @ OSU and was a grad assitant for Earle Bruce. He only spent one season coaching @ OSU though. I'm not going to debate his love for OSU or his loyalty to his home state or anything like that, but Notre Dame is also a special place for him. He spent 5 seasons there as an assistant (one with Holtz, 4 with Davie, I believe) and he is a devout Catholic. But, I wonder if the Notre Dame position had become available last year, what would he do?
Meyer has been on note as saying Notre Dame was is dream job. He also said Florida was his dream job. And we all know that he has said OSU is his dream job. And we've all heard about the infamous contract out-clauses for certain school(s) at his previous jobs. 
To me all that doesn't matter for the here and now. Meyer is OSU's coach now and I am glad to have him. 

Squirrel Master's picture

Meyer chose Florida over Notre Dame because he knew it was a coaching grave yard. Nd in the past had an advantage because it was rich and on TV. Now all schools are rich and on TV. So any advantage is gone now. Why go to a school that makes it hard to accept your average student athlete? There is little draw for young up and coming players.
How in the hell Kelly is bringing in the talent he is is stunning me.

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

Jason Priestas's picture

According to his book, Meyer chose UF over ND because he would be able to spend more time with his family. He correctly assumed that his recruiting travel would be lighter operating out of Florida -- where a large chunk of the talent is -- than if he had to operate out of Northern Indiana.

buckeyedude's picture

I'm sure the weather played a factor as well.



CowCat's picture

I thought I read that Earle steered him towards Florida because it would be easier to recruit top-tier talent consistently. But that doesn't contradict what you're saying.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

The the season opener is just too f@#$ing away!!!  I cannot wait to see the new era of Buckeye football unleashed!  I have a feeling there are going to be quite a few Big 10 teams eviserated in the next few seasons.  I, for one, will enjoy watching a coach that will not let up on the throttle when he gets a lead.  It will be a glorious day to watch baby Bret Bielma shake Urban's hand after being on the bad end of the whoppin stick!!!  Going to Tivo that and replay it about 100 times.

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

timdogdad's picture

thus now in late june of the dilemma of expediting the nicest weather of the year to get  sept 1.   don't wont summer to go too fast but opening day is awesome.  just enjoy the two seasons back to back.   golfing, fishing, beach, grilling, and then soon.... OH -IO !!  

buckz4evr's picture

I think most of what he says comes from the heart.  I actually live in Ashtabula, but didn't grow up here.  I have never heard one bad word about the guy.  EVERYONE loved him then, and loves him now.  As a matter of fact, word on the street is he is coming to his class reunion this year.  Needless to say, the whole city is pumped.

The Braden's picture

How firm thy friendship...

toledobuckeyefanjim's picture

Urban Meyer bleeds Scarlet and Gray. If there's anyone out there who doesn't think so, well....

TheDudeAbides's picture

Is anyone else worried about getting pregnant from that pic of Urban Meyers mustache.

bassplayer7770's picture

Didn't Coach Meyer always have tOSU listed in the out clause of his contracts?  Plus, he grew up in Ohio and was a GA under Coach Bruce.  Not to mention, everything Coach Meyer says and does reminds me of what I've read about Woody Hayes.

CowCat's picture

..and he has a Master's degree from TOSU, met his wife in Ohio and coached at Bowling Green.

If that isn't a coach meant for the job, I don't know who is.

"We get paid to score touchdowns, not kick field goals"
-- Urban Meyer

sir rickithda3rd's picture

As Buckeye fans we are blessed to have Urban Meyer..... I mean he didnt have to come at all, with the sanctions, limited schollies, the 6 win yr. We are talking about a guy who power ranking wise has to come in right behind Saban. Furthermore imo Saban doesnt care about Alabama the way Urban cares about OSU. I have a HUGE supporter. Haters hate winners win

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

Jdadams01's picture

Ike Kelley looks like the definition of a linebacker.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

In the fball dictionary, the prototypical LB would be 6'3, 248 lbs. Ike Kelly is the guy who gets into a bar fight with the prototypical LB and breaks the guy's prototypical kneecaps.  

tennbuckeye19's picture

Found this info about Ike Kelly's days with the Eagles:
This is my favorite part:

And what was the rookie's mindset?
"Just be crazy and fly down there with reckless abandon and complete disregard for personal safety and make a tackle or do whatever was necessary," Kelley said...

One Bad Buckeye's picture

I think Urban should revisit the 'stache.  He should be on the sidelines with aviators and that mustache with his white windbreaker.  Haha.  

"I'm One Bad Buckeye, and I approve this message."

buckeye76BHop's picture

If you aren't pumped up for 9/1 after reading this article...there's something wrong with you.  I, like you Alex, love Urban Meyer.  I've always said he would be the best OSU coach after Tress if he got the he did (a bit earlier than expected but oh well). I guess we'll see but I agree with Ike Kelley...hard to disagree with someone who has a mug like that from back in the day;-)  Man...I think it's safe to say he was a beast of MLB.  GO BUCKS!

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

cinserious's picture

Ike Kelly looks like something out of a cartoon, he's so damn mean lookin'. Its a shame everybody's too PC to mean-mug or scowl in a team photo now days. It promotes VIOLENCE!
HAHA, I can only imagine how florida fans must feel that the gaters were only a stepping-stone program on the way to the ultimate destination... The Ohio State University.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.