With the reported hiring of Michigan linebackers coach Al Washington on Tuesday, Bill Davis confirmed what was expected: He will not be back with Ohio State next season.
Davis, who coached Ohio State's linebackers for the past two seasons, said Tuesday in a statement via Twitter that he and new Ohio State head coach Ryan Day "mutually agreed" to part ways and that he plans to pursue opportunities to coach in the NFL.
Thank you, Buckeye Nation. pic.twitter.com/ZLIFxwV7wH— Bill Davis (@CoachBillDavis) January 8, 2019
In a tweet on Tuesday afternoon, Day said he has "nothing but the upmost respect" for Davis.
Nothing but the upmost respect to Billy Davis. After several discussions I support his decision to pursue opportunities in the NFL. One organization will be getting a great coach and man.— Ryan Day (@ryandaytime) January 8, 2019
Much criticized during his two years at Ohio State, Davis was promoted from his role as a defensive analyst after Luke Fickell left to become Cincinnati's head coach following the 2016 season.
During his tenure, many analysts and fans called Davis' coaching into question.
Jerome Baker seemed to regress in his second year as a starter and first year under Davis in 2017. Davis moved Chris Worley to outside linebacker last season before that experiment ended and he was placed back inside. This year's linebackers were plagued with inconsistency, and for a large period of time early in the season, were moved closer to the line, leading to poor results. Questions about Davis' development of former five-star Baron Browning remain, too.
Davis said before the Rose Bowl that he did not believe all the criticism toward him was warranted, and expressed a desire to stay with the Buckeyes for another year.
“I would love to be back,” Davis said on Dec. 30. “I don’t know what the plan is, but we’ll figure that out when we’re done with this game. I’ve had a great experience here, and I’d love to continue it. But we’ll see day-by-day. I’ve been around for a long time, and a lot of different things can happen, but I’m very proud of the group that I have, and I think they’re getting better every day.”
Now, though, Davis is back on the job market, and will look to land with an NFL team.
“I’ve coached linebackers and been a coordinator in the NFL for a long time. I didn’t forget how to coach when I got to Ohio State,” Davis said at Rose Bowl media day. “I know exactly what we’re telling these young men to do, and I know how efficiently they are or are not doing it. We are not perfect. But the defense is about 11 guys playing as one.”
Davis, who coached in the NFL for 14 seasons before coming to Ohio State, said in his statement Tuesday that he has passed on previous opportunities to coach in the NFL.