Urban Meyer's 50th Birthday by the Numbers

By John Brandon on July 10, 2014 at 9:15 am
Urban Meyer turned 50 today

In case you missed your invitation, today is Urban Meyer's 50th birthday. Seeing as birthdays – especially milestone birthdays like the big five-oh – are a great time to look back on accomplishments, let's spend some time looking back on Meyer's career by the numbers.

Meyer boasts a career record of 128-25 record. The 128 wins are good for 85th all-time among coaches and eighth among active coaches, behind Frank Beamer, Steve Spurrier, Bill Snyder, Gary Pinkel, Nick Saban, Bob Stoops and Tommy Tuberville. Pretty good company, especially when you consider that Meyer and Stoops are the only ones that will be younger than 60 this season. The more impressive number is Meyer's winning percentage of 83.66%, comfortably the best among active coaches (who have coached at least 10 seasons) and trailing only Knute Rockne, Frank Leahy and Barry Switzer historically.

To give us a bit more perspective and appreciation for what Meyer has done at the youthful age of 50, let's look at where some of college football's notable coaches were at the big five-o:

Coach Year Wins Win Pct. bowl wins national Titles
BARRY SWITZER 1987 140 .824 8 4
TOM OSBORNE 1987 137 .801 8 0
BO SCHEMBECHLER 1979 136 .805 0 0
BEAR BRYANT 1963 132 .688 5 1
URBAN MEYER 2014 128 .837 7 2
LOU HOLTZ 1987 122 .616 5 0
MACK BROWN 2001 107 .569 4 0
JOE PATERNO 1976 101 .808 5 0
WOODY HAYES 1963 78 .709 2 1
BOBBY BOWDEN 1979 73 .682 2 0
NICK SABAN 2001 55 .618 1 0
BILL SNYDER 1989 1 .200 0 0

Fun fact: At age 50, Urban Meyer will have more national championships than Bill Snyder had wins. Meyer's resume at 50 is second only to Barry Switzer's on this list, and better than many of college football's legends.

The other angle that instantly jumps out at me is Nick Saban's lack of early success. His historic run at Alabama has made the earlier part of his career easy to forget, but at this point in his career he was only entering his second year at LSU. Meyer has done more than Saban so far, and It will be interesting to compare the two when their careers are all said and done.

Here's a few more fun facts about Meyer's 50th birthday

  • Meyer-coached teams have scored 50 or more points 32 times (20.9% of games) and are undefeated when doing so.
  • Meyer-coached teams have never allowed 50 points in a game. Ironically, the closest any opposing team has come to scoring 50 points was... Indiana in 2012!
  • Meyer has obviously never coached a game on his birthday, but he has coached twice on his half-birthday (January 8th). Both of those games turned out to be National Championship victories.
  • Unrelated but important: Nick Saban's birthday is on October 31st, because of course it is.

Meyer, Future Wins Record-Holder?

With Meyer being so accomplished for his age, I thought I'd have some fun with trying to project his career trajectory. Now that over 100 wins have been vacated from Joe Paterno, the career coaching record of 346 wins held by Bobby Bowden isn't quite as impossible a milestone.

Given the addition of the Big Ten Championship Game and the new playoff format, let's say that Ohio State plays an average of 14 games a year. Factoring in Meyer's .840 winning percentage at BCS schools and a national championship every 4.5 years, Meyer would be on pace to win roughly 11.76 games per year. At that rate he would need to coach for 7 more seasons to have the most wins by an Ohio State coach (205), 9 seasons to surpass Bo Schembechler (234) and crack the top 10 all-time, 15 seasons to surpass Joe Paterno for the most wins by a Big Ten coach (298) and 19 more seasons to break the NCAA record (346).

It has already been a great run for Urban Meyer, and the Buckeyes are lucky to have him at the helm. I hope he enjoys his big day, or at least take the time to remember what day it is – unlike his buddy from Tuscaloosa.

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