An Attempt to Project the Length Ohio State's New Assistant Coaches Will Work for Urban Meyer

By Eric Seger on March 27, 2017 at 8:35 am
How long will Kevin Wilson, Ryan Day and Billy Davis serve as Ohio State assistant coaches?

We remain in the dark about how much money Ohio State will pay new assistant coaches Ryan Day, Kevin Wilson and Billy Davis.

2017 Spring Preview

We also do not know how many seasons they signed on for with the Buckeyes. Despite multiple follow-ups attempts to open records submissions requesting the details of each man's contract, the University has yet to release the information. The Public Records Office said the contracts "have not been finalized," so there are no responsive records available.

Each assistant was announced as a member of Urban Meyer's 2017 football staff at different times. It makes sense to believe they will remain in Columbus for different lengths as well.

“There is no guarantee and there is no predicting,” Davis, the team's new linebackers coach, said recently.

Wilson jumped at Meyer's offer to be his next offensive coordinator and tight ends coach, which the program finally made public on Jan. 10 after weeks of rumors and speculation. Reports surfaced on the same day that former coordinator Ed Warinner was headed to Minnesota to be P.J. Fleck's new offensive line coach.

Wilson was unemployed a little more than a month. He resigned as head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers on Dec. 1 amid allegations of player mistreatment, though athletic director Fred Glass cited "philosophical differences" as the reason the two sides divorced. Wilson doubled down during his first press availability in Columbus on March 9.


“We wouldn't be here, doing this job, if those things are true,” Wilson said.

In any event, Meyer checked all the boxes with Gene Smith before he pulled the trigger on Wilson, who is tasked with righting an Ohio State passing attack that woefully failed the Buckeyes in 2016. He joins Day, the new quarterbacks coach, in the effort to enhance and augment not only J.T. Barrett's production through the air but the offense's as a whole. And all Davis has to do is step in for a program legend, Luke Fickell.

“We changed a lot of little things. We changed all the coaches’ offices and where they’re at. We changed little things about who goes first. The offense is down here now,” Meyer said on March 7. “I think you just have to, Year 6, change the paint on the building a little bit. It’s been all positive so far.”

But how long will these new faces stick around? If you earn the right to work for Meyer and Ohio State, chances are you'll get an opportunity to move on to bigger and better such as becoming a head coach, provided that is your goal. Tom Herman did it. Everett Withers did too. So did Chris Ash. Fickell was the most recent assistant to take a head coaching job. Stan Drayton and Mike Vrabel went to the NFL. The list goes on.

Here is an outlook for each new assistant's time at Ohio State, what they said about their commitment to the program and what it means for the future.

Kevin Wilson — Offensive Coordinator and Tight Ends Coach

Wilson wasn't explicitly asked if he and Meyer had a conversation about the length of his commitment to Ohio State. But he did make it pretty clear that he felt it was important to get back on the sidelines immediately following his unceremonious exit from Bloomington. Then, Meyer pounced.

“I love coaching. I love working with kids. Never thought about not doing it,” he said. “Grateful for the opportunity and blessed to have the opportunity to Coach Meyer for reaching out, for Mr. Smith and the coaches and players embracing me.”

Indiana was Wilson's first chance at a head coaching job and all things considered, he did well. Wilson went just 26-47 in six seasons but in 2015 led the Hoosiers to their first bowl appearance since 2007 — just the second for the program in 23 seasons. Indiana's rise from relative obscurity earned Wilson a fat six-year contract worth more than $15 million, which he signed on the day of the national championship game for the 2015 season, Jan. 11. That is old news now since Wilson works in Columbus but goes to the argument that he can turn around a program

Does he want to be a head coach again? Probably. Meyer typically asks for a two-year commitment from his assistants before they seek employment elsewhere. But having the blessing of a three-time national championship coach is a pretty strong bargaining chip, should those negotiations take place. But Wilson is now the second former head coach Ohio State currently has on staff, joining defensive coordinator Greg Schiano.

“I would love to be here for a while.”– Ryan Day

“I was worried about that,” Meyer said. “The first one I think I hired was Dan McCarney at Florida. He was a very successful head coach and he came in and there was no duty that was — he just did everything. Joker Phillips came here last year and was an SEC head coach and came in and did a lot of scout work for us, those type of things.

“Then you had Greg Schiano and now I have Kevin Wilson and it’s to be determined but the initial reaction is over the top. He’s jumped right in, he’s one of the soldiers and we’re going to work.”

Wilson has to retool his image some while at Ohio State. His kids are mostly grown, with the youngest set to graduate from Indiana soon. If he coordinates the offense the way everyone expects him to, it wouldn't be a shock if an athletic director came calling in a year or two.

Ryan Day — Quarterbacks Coach

Day has spent a considerable amount of time with Chip Kelly, who he worked for both in Philadelphia and San Francisco the last two seasons. That partnership happened in the NFL with the Eagles and 49ers, and Day also worked at Boston College, Temple and at Florida as a graduate assistant for Meyer way back in 2005.


The experience both in college and at the pro level make Day's case interesting. So does this quote from him last week when asked about his level of commitment to Ohio State.

“It's a good question. I was in college, I loved college, I went to the NFL and I learned how that worked,” Day said. “I have a young family, three kids, 8, 6 and 3. My wife, we wanted to go to a place that was stable and we couldn't have picked a better place than right here. That's the biggest thing.

“I would love to be here for a while.”

Having three young children could make Day establish some solid roots in Columbus for an extended period of time. He is only 38 years old, has a strong track record of success at Boston College and in the NFL, and has plenty of coaching ahead of him.

Day said he and his family bought a house as opposed to renting, so read into that what you will. Since 2006 — the year after he worked for Meyer at Florida — Day has worked six different jobs. If things go well in 2017, is he ready to settle down?

Billy Davis — Linebackers Coach

Davis and Meyer go way back, meeting in college and staying so close that the former served as best man at the latter's wedding. Prior to last season, Davis spent his entire coaching career in the NFL. He is adjusting to the recruiting aspect of working in college, a step up from the quality control job he had during the 2015 season.

Davis is 50 years old and said he passed on a few opportunities to coach linebackers in the NFL because he “wanted to dive into Coach Meyer’s program with the Ohio State Buckeyes and really understand what college football is.” His track record as an NFL defensive coordinator is against him, and Davis said he took the quality control job because he remained under contract with the Eagles after their front office cleaned house. And because he didn't find another job in the NFL immediately after losing his position in Philly.

Davis with Jerome Baker

“Didn’t find a spot so the volunteer position was one where I could learn about college football with no intentions and just seeing what was going to present itself,” Davis said. “Had it not presented itself I’d probably be in the NFL with one of the linebacker jobs that I had an opportunity.”

So, how long will he remain in Columbus working for his buddy?

“It’s year-to-year,” Davis said. “I was raised as a coach’s kid. There is no guarantee and there is no predicting. Ask my wife and kids. ‘Yeah, Dad, you said we were staying and we’re not staying. You said we were leaving and we’re not leaving.’ It’s just one year at a time and I’m throwing everything I have into this year.”

Davis also said if he was going to try the college football route it would only be with one man: Meyer. Stepping in for Fickell is no easy task particularly in recruiting. So how he performs there and proves his value to the staff during the 2017 season will be two things to watch moving forward on Meyer's coaching staff.

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