Jim Heacock in Talks to Return to Ohio State

By Jason Priestas on March 9, 2013 at 7:18p
Ohio State is in talks with former defensive coordinator Jim Heacock

A rumor began to circulate this morning that former Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Heacock may return to join Urban Meyer's staff in some manner. News first appeared courtesy of a plugged-in member of the BuckeyeSports.com message boards, and soon found its way to other places, including our own forum and Twitter.

We reached out to a couple of sources and have confirmed that discussions between Heacock and Ohio State are ongoing, but nothing is final yet. Ohio State declined to confirm the talks when reached for comment.

Heacock served on Ohio State staffs under John Cooper and Jim Tressel, first as the defensive line coach from 1996–2004 and then as defensive coordinator from 2005–2012 before retiring when he was not retained when Urban Meyer took over the program.

Meyer and Heacock do go back – it was Heacock, while serving as the head coach for Illinois State, that gave a young Urban Meyer his first real coaching job in 1988, when Meyer assumed the role of OLB coach of the Redbirds.

It goes without saying that Heacock would be a tremendous asset to any staff. His work ethic is legendary and his chops as a defensive strategist are unquestioned.

If Heacock does join the staff, expect it to be in a quality control capacity. That may sound weird given his résumé, but Nick Saban is in the process of filling similar positions with seasoned vets, and if there's anything we know about Urban Meyer, it's that he always has one eye on Saban.


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J.Mo's picture

Welcome back Heacock!!! Hope it's true!

Grant Edgell's picture

They can call him Quality Control -- or Consultant, Advisor, Guide, Mentor, Mascot, Brutus Jr. or slap any other title on Coach Heacock they wish - what an addition this would be in any capacity.

Defend Youngstown's picture

This would be huge. It should be plain to see that Fickell and Withers are both going to be courted heavily for HC spots. If they leave, Heacock could come right back on board as DC.

buckeyedude's picture

That is an excellent point, Defend. My first thought was how were all of these coaches were going to get along and actually coach without stepping on someone's toes. But I think you may be right. I think Urban may be looking to the future when one of the younger guys takes off for more $ and a HC somewhere.



Colorado Buckeye's picture

BINGO! Urban is literally putting dominos in place knowing that at some point they will fall (probably Withers first) and we will already be positioned for a smooth transition..

Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory lasts forever!

AJW_16's picture

A tremendous defensive coordinator - will always remember the excellent game plan he drew up for the 2010 Rose Bowl v. Oregon. Whatever his role this is good news.

"Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you." 

Brutus Greyshield's picture

A couple of months ago, when every sports pundit was wondering whether Chip Kelly's offense could work in the NFL, one actually had the sense to email Heacock and ask him how he had the Buckeyes prepare for Oregon in the Rose Bowl. It's a good read.  

AJW_16's picture

Interesting stuff, especially about having two offensive units ready to go during practice.

"Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you." 

kareemabduljacobb's picture

If you haven't noticed, anytime Oregon plays a team with a good D they lose.

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

I also think its important to remember that we got some very fortunate bounces in that game.  While our defense did a good job, it was more the turnovers, the timing of the turnovers, and the field position where they happened, than it was the scheme.  If we don't get those turnovers, I'm not sure we win.

Read my entire screen name....

OSUStu's picture

You are probably right but creating turnovers is a hallmark of good defense and can be a product of scheme.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Yes. I can agree to an extent but not for fumbles.  Now you could say that it's fundamental teaching and I won't disagree that heacock defenses have those. Schematically, if Oregon doesn't fumble, our schemes would be judged as unsuccessful, which was my point. 

Read my entire screen name....

Brutus Greyshield's picture

Paul Haynes used Heacock last summer at Arkansas to help evaluate players. Haynes said that Heacock was doing for Arkansas what Dave Adolph had done for the Buckeyes (when Haynes was an assistant under Heacock). This might shed some light on what Heacock will being doing for Ohio State in the future.


OSUStu's picture

Puhleeze let this happen! The man is a defensive wiz.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

cajunbuckeye's picture

This seems to good to be true, Stu. But I'm with you, great news if Jim returns to the fold

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

buckny's picture

I believe you meant 1988 was the year Urban began at ISU under Heacock.

Jason Priestas's picture

Yep. Fixed. Thank you. 

gbdawg's picture

Come back Jim. 

SilverBulletNYC's picture

I like the move.

The South will NOT rise again!

buckeye76BHop's picture

When I saw the title to this thread...I could of swore I heard this song in the distance...

"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 

BuckeyeNationProblems's picture

Will fick stay when offered a lower hc job? 


popeurban's picture

Rumors were he was offered the Pitt job back when Urban came on.  If so, he chose to stay then.

OSUAndy07's picture

I like it. I like it a lot

"But I'm tryin' Ringo. I'm tryin', real hard, to be the shepherd"

Dougger's picture

me too!
I like you alot

I like football

Buckeye06's picture

People were happy when Heacock was let go saying he played too conservative etc.  But they rejoice when he returns? 
I always liked the guy, but OSU needs to be able to man up with their corners still; can't play zone against good teams all the time.  The talent is there on the outsides now so we should be able to implement that, and our safeties seem to have caught up in skill level finally

millertime2011's picture

I will come out and say that I was one of those who was happy that Urban didn't retain Heacock. A big reason I wanted this was because I felt like we just needed a big change (intangible, I know, but just what I felt). Secondly, he was calling things too conservatively. All weak zone coverage with only 3 or 4 rushing. However, in this new role he wouldn't be making play calls. However, his knowledge of the game is immense, his player evaluation is pinpoint, his preparation is meticulous and his experience is invaluable. None of this can be debated. Bringing all of those qualities onboard while not having to give him playcalling abilities? I vote yes every day of the week and twice on Sundays. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better hire. 

buckeyestu's picture

Heacock will be a good asset to have around. Hope it is true that he is coming back.

BuckeyeMike2002's picture

That would be absolutely awesome. I think Fickell and Withers will be gone after this year in Head Coaching positions. Especially if OSU plays for a MNC. Considering how early new head coaches leave their former teams, (if true) you could see Heacock planning the defense for a bowl game THIS YEAR!!!.

Q: What is the difference between the Michigan Football Team and a bag of crap. A: The Bag.

Scott K's picture

If the Bucks make the MNC, no coach is leaving before that.  

"There's a fine line between stupid, and....clever.  David St. Hubbins/Nigel Tufnel

CC's picture

What is the m for in mnc?

millertime2011's picture

"mythical"--highlights the fact that it doesnt come from a playoff.

Gametime's picture

Could it also be an issue that because Heacock played with Tressel-ball offense that he had to use more conservative game plans/ play calling? Tress was a coach who didn't want to have to hang 30+ on our opponents if we didn't have to, & because of that we had a premium on not giving up big plays & having a high scoring D rank. 

That said, Urban wants to hang 30+ on opponents in the first half. Perhaps, that would've allowed Heacock, hypothetically, to have more aggressive playcalling, especially since we have better talent outside at DB than we've had in a long while.

Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

Colorado Buckeye's picture

food for thought... I like the way you're thinking.

Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory lasts forever!

biggy84's picture

His defenses never gave up 49 points to Indiana. Glad he is back!

MediBuck's picture

I'm convinced that Heacock has been the brains behind the Silver Bullets for many years now. His return would be huge for our schematic advantage over our foes. The man knows the B1G inside and out as well. My biggest sadness (other that losing Tressell) was Heacock retiring. Coach Urbs sure knows how to please a Buckeye fan :)

"There is a force that makes us all brothers, no one goes his way alone." --Woody Hayes

lamplighter's picture

So, how does this compare to Dantonio's recent hire?  Walrus bane?

AndyVance's picture

Yeah, you kind of have to imaging Dantonio reading this news and saying, "Oh shit."

Colorado Buckeye's picture

i cant stop laughing.... :)

Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory lasts forever!

Urban Ohio's picture

Which Buckeye has the biggest nuts of them all ? Heacock !!!
Go Bucks !!!

Newcomerstown Trojans between Woody and Beaver.