The job in Columbus that most in the country recognizes, even more so than the Governorship of the State of Ohio, is that of the Head Coaching position of The Ohio State University’s Football Program. The Buckeyes! And for whatever it is, in that context, comes a high level of recognition, or demonetization. Urban Meyer, in his seven years in that role, has excelled in every category.
Coach Meyer, 54, has diligently achieved a success that just will not be matched – any time soon. In the high-intensity spotlight, coupled with the fan-base’s often loud and obnoxious demands – that they be met – championships, important bowl bids and numerous recognition’s for players; now including the outside chance at a Heisman Trophy for quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. on Saturday night in New York City – Coach Meyer has met.
Upon the completion of his seventh year at The Ohio State University with a scheduled New Year’s Day Rose Bowl game against Washington, Meyer will cap a remarkable run for one of the pedigree programs in the nation by handing the reins off to his offensive coordinator, Ryan Day, already announced as the new head coach. He is hardly leaving a mess, or a chaotic atmosphere, but a well-oiled machine that is designed to carry on effectively, efficiently, and with the base only clamoring for the usual demands that Urban, Tressel, Cooper, and Bruce, all dealt with: championships, “important” bowl bids, and recognition’s of the players that set them aside from their peers in college football. Nothing changes, only the face in charge.
Urban’s tenure though in Columbus is enviable to those within his profession, and recognizable in every capacity – and of “great” need to be shared – even if we all know it.
He won a national championship in the first College Football Playoff in 2014 is the immediate recognition standing at the top, there is also three Big Ten championships, too remarkable. Taking the Buckeyes to the Rose Bowl this year is another accomplishment worth celebrating, even as some with the highest expectations for the Buckeyes season after season might consider anything less than a playoff bid disappointing.
Meyer’s overall record in Columbus is 82 wins with only 9 losses, this includes a Big 10 record of 57 and 5, and, need we emphasize his perfect TTUN record of no losses in seven years. Those numbers are desirable in any framework.
Also coming into the refined definition of the job of any college coach is teaching life lessons. Coach Meyer has done well in schooling his players on how to stay focused on their goals even after the unexpected loss such as the team had against Purdue in October, or Iowa of last year.
He has also shared with the community at large one of the key concepts his players and other coaches have learned from business consultants that Meyer brought into the locker room and onto the sidelines: E + R = O. Executive coach Tim Knight counseled the team on his signature approach — Event plus Response Equals Outcome — and helped the Buckeyes translate that solid advice into winning seasons. While a few players each year go on to professional football careers, many others will be fortunate to take this instruction into whatever kind of work follows their playing days. Also important is the Real-Life Wednesdays program that Meyer brought with him from Florida to expose players to a mix of helpful messages they wouldn’t otherwise hear from top business leaders.
Taking responsibility for our own responses to whatever events we encounter is a good lesson any of us can take from Meyer’s time at Ohio State. And it may be what Meyer himself is practicing now.
I do not find it necessary to reiterate the off-field controversy that rapt the Buckeye football program this past summer and into the first three games of the season. The past is the past.
Urban Meyer gave his all to The Program. None of us in Buckeye Nation could have asked for a better leader at the time of his introduction as the Head Coach back seven years ago. He did so with medical issues that had followed him from Florida. None of us discussed that, we only saw an elite coach now shouting orders on the Scarlet and Gray sidelines on Game Day. Meyer now must focus on what is the “most” important – dealing with an arachnoid cyst on his brain – of which he has been aware of since back in 1998. The headaches though have grown more often, and more intense, certainly based on the high-pressured job he loves. But Coach Meyer must get better for himself and his family way before another trophy comes to Columbus.
A friend of Urban’s, Cris Carter, former Buckeye standout and NFL superstar told us what Urban, or The Ohio State University did not: “Urban’s a very, very close friend of mine. His biggest problem is he wants to coach, but physically he can’t coach. He can’t do this anymore,” Carter said. “I think it’s been well-documented, as far as the cyst on his brain. When he gets agitated, upset … when he gets in coaching mode, it becomes very to almost impossible for him to coach because the cyst begins to leak fluid, which leads to — not a migraine headache, but a splitting headache.
“When we saw him double over on the sideline, that was not because of anything else but the cyst and it’s rupturing. There’s a few things potentially that he could do, he could rest The second one is to have a procedure done where they could relieve the pressure (from) the procedure he had done a couple of years ago, but you’re opening up the brain — and that’s not coming with a great deal of encouragement by the specialist who is working on him. And the third thing is what we saw today, was Urban Meyer resigning as the coach at Ohio State.”
I personally, along with my wife and son, wish Coach Meyer well and hope to see him have some opportunity to continue to positively influence the Buckeye’s football program. Meyer’s spiritually, to me has been uplifting, and my prayers will never forget him.
In what is both sad and uplifting I know all of Buckeye Nation welcomes Coach Day into the spotlight. May he enjoy the same success as his predecessor. Eyes will be upon him. But, no doubt, he will handle it all well. He, as his history shows, is meant for the greatest job the nation recognizes in Columbus, Ohio.