Presser Bullets: Urban Meyer Announces Retirement, Ryan Day Named Ohio State's Next Head Coach

By Dan Hope on December 4, 2018 at 2:59 pm

Urban Meyer has officially announced his retirement.

During a press conference at the Fawcett Center on Tuesday afternoon, Ohio State's head coach formally announced his intention to retire from his post following the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.

Additionally, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith announced that Ryan Day, the Buckeyes' current offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, will take over for Meyer next month as the 25th coach in school history.

Smith spoke with the media, followed by Meyer and Day, and here's a bullet-point recap of what each of them had to say:

Gene Smith
  • "This is a great time in our history, to have an opportunity to recognize a coach and a family who's done such a tremendous job for our student-athletes and Buckeye Nation and our community."
  • Smith said the football players were notified this morning.
  • Smith recalled the day he met Urban and Shelley Meyer: "We knew we were getting an elite coach, and when he went 12-0 in the first season, we realized Urban was really going to be a game-changer." Said Meyer's tenure has "by far exceeded expectations."
  • On Meyer: "He is a brilliant leader of men." Described him as an innovator both on and off the field, with Real Life Wednesdays and other initiatives, and an elite recruiter. 
  • "Urban and Shelley Meyer are also both leaders in our community, especially Shelley," donating their time and efforts to contribute to university causes.
  • "We are grateful to Urban and Shelley and their family for all they have given us. They are exemplary people and professionals."
  • "I look forward to working with Urban in his new capacity," but he did not specify what that capacity is.
  • "This is professional as an athletic director, but personal as a friend ... You rocked it, brother, you did what we talked about."
  • Smith gave a shoutout to The Athletic's Ari Wasserman for his September report that discussions had taken place for Day to succeed Meyer as head coach. "You weren't too far off."
  • "We're fortunate to welcome Ryan Day into our head coaching experience."
  • On Day: "His diversity and his experiences have uniquely prepared him for this opportunity."
  • Why not conduct a national search? "I'm blessed. It's rare that you have the opportunity to create a succession plan where you have the right person in place ... We recognized the talent that Ryan Day had early ... Being able to have someone to be able to continue the stability and consistency that we have was important to me."
  • Smith said he knew Ryan Day would be the replacement if Urban Meyer left a couple weeks ago. "I knew that ultimately Urban had to make a decision this past Sunday, and I was going to make a move one way or another."
  • On Day: "Let's be clear, he got to win ballgames. But it takes a lot of understanding about our environment, to be able to win those ballgames."
  • Smith teases retiring Columbus Dispatch beat writer Tim May: "What was it like for you when you decided to retire?"
Urban Meyer
  • Meyer began by wishing a happy 2nd birthday to his grandson Troy, joking, "That's why we're all here."
  • Meyer said it always been his goal to hand off the program to "an elite coach and person," which he considers Day to be.
  • Meyer says he is looking forward to coaching the team through the Rose Bowl, and that it will be an honor to coach the Buckeyes and represent the Big Ten in that game.
  • Meyer said he began having recurring issues with headaches last year following his surgery in 2014.
  • The decision to retire was "not as difficult as I thought" because of how strongly he feels about Day and his ability as a coach.
  • Meyer said he wants to continue to have a role at Ohio State: "God has a plan. I'm not quite sure what that is ... I hope to stay involved."
  • Meyer said what happened this summer did have an impact on him, but not as much as the headaches did.
  • Meyer said he started thinking about stepping down last year during the Penn State game due to a flare-up of his headaches.
  • "This has been a fast 48 hours since that last game."
  • "This would be a really tough day if we were a mess ... To be able to know that we did right, at least we felt like we did right, this makes it that much easier."
  • Meyer joked with Tim May: "I made my decision when you made yours."
  • Meyer expects Day to be back on the recruiting trail tomorrow: "Ryan's going to be in four states tomorrow. He better be."
  • Meyer said he really started to think about whether he should leave when recruits started asking if he'd be around for 4-5 years.
  • Meyer said he had a talk with Terry McLaurin and Parris Campbell in his office Monday night for an hour.
  • Do you believe you will not coach again? "I believe I will not coach again." Are you fairly certain? "I'm certain, yes."
  • Meyer said he loves Columbus, loves Muirfield Village (where he lives), still believes in Ohio State and wants to still help the program and university grow.
  • Could you imagine being Day's age and taking over as Ohio State's head coach? "No chance." Meyer became Bowling Green's head coach at 36.
  • Meyer said Day will be the head coach on the recruiting trail immediately, but Meyer will continue to meet with recruits when they visit campus for the next month, and will be willing to answer any questions they have.
  • "The style of coaching that I've done for 33 years is a very intense, very demanding ... I've tried to delegate more, and CEO-ish more, and the product started to fail ... The challenge was can I continue to do that in that style."
  • Asked about how he felt he was treated this summer, Urban Meyer said he has addressed that several times and that several factors played a part in his decision, but not just that.
  • Meyer said it is very important for the team to stay focused ahead of the Rose Bowl.
  • Urban Meyer says the infrastructure that Ohio State has set up for football coaches to succeed is "arguably the best I've ever been around."
  • On this year's Michigan game, referring to him and Shelley: "That was one of the greatest moments of our life."
  • Meyer said Day has to have laser lights on recruiting, and that to go recruit and to make sure he has the right staff around him will be the most important keys to his success.
  • Meyer said that Day cannot allow his investment in his job to affect his faith and family, which he acknowledges he allowed to happen to him at times.
  • On if his suspension will make a difference to his legacy: "I'm sure it will. I haven't really thought that through. That was a disappointing time, obviously."
  • Meyer said "there was conversation before this year" about potentially stepping down in the next few seasons, and Ryan Day potentially being his successor, but he didn't think at the time that would be this year. Knew he wouldn't be coaching for 10-15 more years.
  • Meyer said he feels like he and his staff "represented this university and this state the right way."
  • Meyer and Smith have talked about him having a role with the university going forward. "My relationship with Gene Smith is as real as real can get."
Ryan Day
  • To Urban and Shelley Meyer: "Your legacy will live on here forever."
  • Day jokes to Meyer: "You can now sit in the box and yell at us, for going for it or not going for it on 4th down too."
  • Day thanks Ohio State's players, saying this opportunity would not be possible without them.
  • On his commitment to his players both on and off the field: "My pledge to the players is our staff is going to give you every opportunity to maximize yourself."
  • Day reaches out to the high school coaches of Ohio: "It will continue to be our top priority to recruit the best high school football players in Ohio."
  • "It didn't take long for me to figure out what the expectations are for Ohio State football. No. 1, win the rivalry game, and No. 2, win every game after that."
  • "I feel confident about our offense's ability to adapt to our personnel year in and year out." Says the Buckeyes will continue to be aggressive on defense, and that they will continue to incorporate all of their best players on special teams.
  • "Every coach who ever put a whistle around their neck strives to be the head football coach at Ohio State University ... being on the same list as Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Earle Bruce, John Cooper, Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer, it's extremely humbling, but I'm prepared for the challenge."
  • Day said it gives him more confidence starting his time as head coach that he walked in those shoes earlier this year.
  • Day said Ohio State's other assistant coaches are still on the road recruiting, and that's the focus right now. At the end of the season, he'll go through and evaluate things and make decisions on which staff members will be retained.
  • "There's no school in America that takes better care of student-athletes than Ohio State."
  • When did you know you wanted this job? "Probably when I was growing up, and probably when I was watching the Buckeyes on TV and watching them play The Team Up North." Day said it was a "surreal experience" to be offered the job, and it was not a tough decision.
  • "We understand what this means ... we're going to take it very seriously, and we're going to jump in with two feet."
  • Day says that whatever role Meyer wants to have in the program, "the door will always be open." "Coach Meyer is always going to be a resource for me, personally."

Stay tuned with Eleven Warriors for much more coverage of Meyer's retirement, Day's promotion and the future of the Ohio State football program.

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