Ohio State Special Teams Coordinator Parker Fleming Will Not Return for 2024 Season

By Dan Hope on January 10, 2024 at 2:10 pm
Parker Fleming

Parker Fleming will not be back with the Buckeyes in 2024.

Ohio State is parting ways with Fleming after three seasons as the Buckeyes’ special teams coordinator, the team announced on Wednesday.

It is not yet clear who will lead Ohio State‘s special teams coaching efforts in 2024, though it’s expected that Ohio State will reallocate the open coaching position rather than hiring another full-time special teams coordinator.

Fleming had been with Ohio State since 2018, when he joined the Buckeyes as a quality control coach. He was promoted to the full-time coaching staff in 2021 following the retirement of former co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison.

Ohio State gave Fleming a two-year contract extension last offseason but moved to fire Fleming after a 2023 season in which special teams errors were routinely a storyline.

Fleming’s coaching efforts routinely drew scrutiny over the past three seasons as Ohio State’s special teams play was far from excellent despite having a dedicated special teams coach, which many college football teams do not. Those criticisms reached a boiling point after Ohio State’s ninth game of the regular season at Rutgers, in which Jesse Mirco unsuccessfully attempted to run for a first down on Ohio State’s side of the field on what Ryan Day described as a “miscommunication” rather than a called fake punt.

“The ball should have punted. That never should have been a run in that situation,” Day said the following Tuesday. “So ultimately, I'm the head coach, and so it comes back on me, but it needs to be communicated better, and it's unacceptable.”

Ohio State’s special teams units made too many unforced errors while making few game-changing plays during Fleming’s tenure. Ohio State has not returned a kickoff for a touchdown since 2010 or a punt for a touchdown since 2014, while the Buckeyes did not block any kicks or punts in 2023. The Buckeyes ranked just 115th in the FBS with 12.4 yards allowed per punt return in 2023 and 36th nationally with 17.9 yards allowed per kick return.

As a result of Ohio State’s substandard performance on special teams over the past three years, Fleming’s tenure with the Buckeyes is over.

Fleming is the second member of Ohio State’s 2023 coaching staff to be ousted this week, joining former safeties coach Perry Eliano. Matt Guerrieri was hired Wednesday to replace Eliano as safeties coach.

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