Jeff Hafley's Departure From Ohio State After Just One Season is a Shift From Urban Meyer's Two-Year Commitments With Assistants

By Kevin Harrish on December 14, 2019 at 8:05 am
Jeff Hafley is leaving Ohio State.

Urban Meyer somewhat notoriously expected at least two years out of his assistant coaches at Ohio State.

It was a commitment he spoke about publicly on many occasions and one that even seemed to work both ways, as he kept multiple assistant coaches on staff despite lackluster debut seasons.

Whether it was a firm rule or just a loose understanding, Meyer never saw a single assistant leave after just one season at Ohio State in his seven seasons in Columbus. But now, with Jeff Hafley leaving to become the new head coach at Boston College, Ryan Day now has one in his first.

Hafley's early exit is certainly a departure from what we saw under Meyer, but it's not something Day wants to be the norm. While he wouldn't commit to that two-year rule Meyer so openly discussed, Day did express a desire for his assistants to remain on staff for the long haul.

"We talk about it when people bring their families here that we'd like them to be here for a long time, and I'd rather not them come here for one year and leave, but guys have opportunities, and I don't want to get in the way of that," Day said in early October. "But at the same time, when you're building relationships and you're recruiting, we expect at least two years, sometimes more."

Day went on to explain that he didn't expect anybody on staff to leave "anytime soon," but two months later, he's looking for a replacement for Hafley.

Losing talent earlier than expected is one of the perils that comes with elite success. Day learned that last year when Dwayne Haskins entered the NFL Draft after just one season as a starter following a record-breaking year that earned him a trip to New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist.

Day met that challenge, replacing Haskins with the highest-rated prospect in program history who is also a Heisman finalist after his first season as a starter. Now, he'll hope for similar success in replacing his first hand-picked defensive coordinator.

But for now, Day's focus is still on the task at hand: winning a national title. And that's where he expects Hafley's to be, as well.

“The one thing I'd ask is to those guys, if that situation were to come up, is just make sure we finish through this finish line first,” Day said before the Big Ten Championship game. “We made a commitment to these guys. Most people who are looking for coaches at this time would understand that and what that means."

Hafley is expected to continue coaching the Buckeyes through the College Football Playoff, according to Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports', fulfilling that one last promise to Day and this Ohio State team.

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