What Jim Heacock's Potential Hire Means for Ohio State

By Chad Peltier on March 12, 2013 at 5:00p

Over the weekend we confirmed that former Buckeye defensive coordinator Jim Heacock is in ongoing talks with Ohio State to return to the staff in some capacity. 

Heacock has been successful at the Rose BowlGood memories.

This deal has yet to be finalized by either party, but the question remains as to what role Heacock would fill if he does indeed return to Ohio State. 

There are two potential reasons why Meyer would court Heacock for a new position at Ohio State.

First, Heacock would bring veteran, tested defensive knowledge to a much-maligned 2012 unit. He could serve not only as a consultant to Fickell and Withers, but insurance in case one of these two names decides to move on to a head coaching position.

Second, the new recruiting deregulations incentivize the addition of non-coaching recruiting positions, an area that Nick Saban has pioneered. 

As we pointed out when first confirming the rumors, Heacock would likely serve in some quality control capacity, a far cry from co-defensive coordinator under Tressel.

While puzzling at first, this move would not only make sense for both parties, but would reflect a growing trend in college football to bring in top, veteran coaching talent to fill positions that were perceived as being low entry-level, graduate assistant-type positions. 

Coachingsearch.com believes that Nick Saban is already ahead of the game after convincing coaches Joe Palcic, Brendan Farrell, Ronnie Letson, and Jake Peetz to accept quality control positions after being former coordinators and position coaches:

Thus, some of these veteran coaches will earn significantly less money than they are accustomed to earning in recent years.

Saban clearly is not approaching these positions as "entry level" or "low level" jobs.  He isn't bending any rules, either.  The NCAA does not currently have a limit on quality control type of staffers, although Mack Brown thinks it's coming.

While none of these four new staffers declined coordinator positions in the NFL or anything to become video coordinators at Alabama, they all brought higher-level coaching experience and demonstrated recruiting prowess to their new jobs. 

Because the new recruiting deregulations allow staffers to contact recruits (though this may change), more wealthy schools have incentives to hire proven recruiters with preexisting relationships with recruits and high schools.

If Saban is currently leading the charge in this regard, you know Meyer is at least evaluating this strategy as well.

In effect, this means that even quality control positions may no longer be "entry-level" positions, but reserved for experienced hires with multi-page recruiting résumés. 

If Saban is currently leading the charge in this regard, you know Meyer is at least evaluating this strategy as well. This is where Heacock could come in – he would perfectly fill the role of veteran coordinator who is willing to serve in a consultant or quality control position.

Further, this is somewhat of an inside hire, which would bring program continuity and familiarity with Ohio State's recruiting area. 

Imagine being a recruit on a campus visit who, before even meeting with assistant and position coaches, is introduced to Jim Heacock.

He could pitch something to the effect of "I was named the 2007 Frank Broyles National Assistant Coach of the Year here at Ohio State, leading the nation in total defense, scoring defense, and pass defense. One of the few men to ever really exploit one of my defenses happens to be the head coach at this fine university."

As Tim May wrote back in July, Heacock was relieved to take a sabbatical from coaching, but wasn't ready to move on from Ohio State altogether. About Urban, Heacock said that “Urban’s got great passion for the game. He’s driven; he’s totally committed to everything he does. He’s an early-morning/stay-late guy, too, who’ll do whatever it takes to find success.” 

He even might have hinted to his return last summer: “Now I’m starting to get that enthusiasm, that passion back,” Heacock said. “I’m excited for the fall, excited to watch the Buckeyes and, really, to watch a lot of different teams.”

Coach, we'd be excited to see you bring that passion back to Ohio State. 


Comments Show All Comments

German Buckeye's picture

Welcome back Jim!  Can only be positive returns on this investment. 

osubuck57's picture

Would love if he came back in the Buckeye fold!! Could mentor some of our coaches as well as players!! Either way,a plus for the Buckeyes!!


JeffCoBuck's picture

Bring Coach Heacock in yesterday! This would be fantastic!

osu07asu10's picture

Love to have Heacock back on staff, I just wouldn't put much stock in him getting after recruiting, even if it is just meeting with kids on campus. I think it was fairly well known that he wasn't a huge fan of recruiting, and his effort there waned towards the end.
I think we're going to see him do what he does best, help coach the defense. We've seen through how he handled Fickell as a co-d coordinator, to working for his former player, that Coach Heacock is selfless and title and position mean little to him if he enjoys what he is doing.

I look forward to hearing a formal announcement shortly.

CJDPHoS Board of Directors // Best friends with Homey Hache

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Hovenaut's picture

From an X's and O's (especially the X's) standpoint Heacock coming back aboard is great. Had some fantastic offensive players under Tress, including a Heisman winner, but the defenses set the standard for that era imho.

AndyVance's picture

I think the larger storyline of interest here is the proliferation of "old hands" in "non-coaching" positions. As the story notes that Saban is leading the charge, and this trend certainly benefits marquee programs such as 'Bama and Ohio State who have the cash to bring in big names in advisory-type roles.
Think of the big-name type coaches who maybe don't fit 100% into an Urban Meyer assistant position, or like Heacock, don't want to recruit 22 hours per day, 360 days per year... Throw a decent salary their way and unlock that stored knowledge and wisdom, not to mention connections.
What do guys like John Cooper and Jim Tressel do when they're done serving as head coaches, anyway? (That's a rhetorical question, in part.) Why not bring back masterminds of days gone by and give them a chance to serve as a brain trust to the Hermons and Fickells of the world? Makes perfect sense to me.

buckeye76BHop's picture

He's needed IMO and this (if it comes true) is well deserving for a man who bleeds scarlet and gray.  Love hearing from others that he's needed and appreciated in any sort of capacity as well.  It's time for the silver bullets to be playing like they used to ALL year long.  
Edit* Lol and you know why;-)

"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 

otrain2416's picture

If this is the new trend I'm really surprised we didn't do the same thing with Mark Mangino on the offensive side of the ball instead of letting him go to Youngstown State

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

Buckeye2005's picture

When Coach Tressel named an interim coach when it seemed he would be unable to coach for a short period of time, why did he appoint Luke Fickell instead of Heacock? 

Chad Peltier's picture

I'd guess part of the reason was that Heacock didn't want it. He was already a HC once and knows it's a stressful job. Fickell is a young guy that is clearly moving up. Give it to the guy that wants it and could use it. 

costinjr's picture

this...so awesome

"I was named the 2007 Frank Broyles National Assistant Coach of the Year here at Ohio State, leading the nation in total defense, scoring defense, and pass defense. One of the few men to ever really exploit one of my defenses happens to be the head coach at this fine university."

smith5568's picture

 I hope this actually pans out. He would be a tremendous asset to the defense and the program. 

81Alum's picture

Love it if Heacock is in some way involved with OSU football. The man is a class act.

gbdawg's picture

Heacock would be a great addition.