After weeks of speculation and rumors, Urban Meyer is expected to be named Ohio State’s next football coach. Citing an unnamed source, ESPN broke the news Monday morning. Meyer spent the past year working for ESPN.
Meyer, 47, last coached six years at Florida where he won a pair of national championships before stepping down because of health and family reasons on Dec. 6, 2010.
Ohio State hopes Meyer, an Ohio native who began his coaching career as an intern at OSU, will bring stability to an unstable program that has been hammered by an NCAA investigation and player suspension that resulted in coach Jim Tressel’s resignation after 10 years. Under interim coach Luke Fickell, the Buckeyes finished the regular season with a 6-6 record after losing 40-34 against Michigan on Saturday.
Bowl eligible, there are few pundits speculating that Ohio State could end up playing against 6-6 Florida in the Gator Bowl. Today’s news certainly would increase TV ratings and national interest for the matchup if that were to happen.
Meyer’s name instantly was floated for the OSU job shortly after Tressel resigned on May 31. Meyer even released a statement saying he was “committed to ESPN” and wouldn’t “pursue any coaching opportunities this fall.” As more rumors swirled about Meyer taking the OSU job in recent weeks, he denied it was true. He even released a prepared statement before Thanksgiving that read, “I have not been offered any job nor is there any deal in place.”
Meyer was 104-23 in 10 season as a head coach at Florida, Utah and Bowling Green. He was born in Ashtabula, Ohio, and played defensive back at Cincinnati. Among his many stops as an assistant, he was tight ends coach and receivers coach at Ohio State in 1986 and ’87, respectively.
At Florida, Meyer was the highest paid coach in the Southeastern Conference and third highest paid coach in the country at the time of his resignation. A 2009 contract extension was worth $24 million over six years if he had stayed at UF. Despite receiving negative publicity for having 30 players arrested in a six-year span, there were plenty of positives for Meyer at UF as guided the Gators to a 65-15 record and to BCS Championships in 2006 and 2008.