Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer is not be leaving the Buckeyes after all.
After Meyer coaches his final game for the Buckeyes against Washington in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, he’ll be moving “upstairs” to a new role as assistant athletic director.
He’ll be moving into his new office across the hall from athletic director Gene Smith on the 10th floor of the Fawcett Center on the OSU campus, reported the Cleveland.com.
— 10TV.com (@10TV) December 23, 2018
It’s definitely much more “cozy” — as they say in the real estate business to describe something small — than his current office at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.
“I showed him the office, and he said, ‘Man, I’ve got a lot of stuff,’” Smith told C. “I said, ‘You’ve got to take some stuff home, or you’ve got to purge.'”
Meyer is coming off another successful season, but one that’s been fraught with controversy and struggles.
The Buckeyes finished 12-1 and are ranked No. 6 in the country. A 62-39 win over then fourth-ranked Michigan on Nov. 24 put them in the conversation for the College Football Playoff.
But it wasn’t enough to overcome a bad 49-20 loss to Purdue on Oct. 20. Purdue was 3-3 at the time and is currently 6-6 heading into the Music City Bowl against Auburn on Dec. 28.
It was also a year in which Meyer was suspended for the first three games of the season for the mishandling of allegations against fired former assistant coach Zach Smith.
An investigation by the university turned up “a pattern of troubling behavior by Zach Smith: promiscuous and embarrassing sexual behavior, drug abuse, truancy, dishonesty, financial irresponsibility, a possible NCAA violation, and a lengthy police investigation into allegations of criminal domestic violence and cybercrimes.”
The report found that Meyer and his new boss, AD Gene Smith, didn’t condone or cover up any of the allegations against Zach Smith, but could have done more.
“I followed my heart and not my head,” Meyer said in August when he learned of his three-game suspension. “I should have demanded more from him and recognized red flags.”
It was somewhat surprising when Meyer, 54, announced Dec. 4 that he would retire after the Rose Bowl. Meyer is one of the most successful coaches of all-time, winning three national championships. He won in 2006 and 2008 with Florida and in 2014 with Ohio State.
In a press conference to announce his retirement, Meyer said he was leaving primarily for health reasons. Meyer suffers from debilitating headaches caused by a brain cyst. It’s not life-threatening, but it’s had an impact.
“The style of coaching that I’ve done for 33 years is very intense, very demanding,” Meyer said at the press conference on Dec. 4, reported CBS Sports. “You can ask our former players of the expectations and the way I’ve been. I’ve tried to delegate more, CEO-ish more, and the product started to fail. The challenge was, can I continue to do that in that style?”
He also admitted the Zach Smith scandal played a role in his “cumulative” decision. When asked if it would hurt his legacy, Meyer said, “I’m sure it will. I haven’t really thought that through. That was a disappointing time, obviously.”
There have been rumors and speculation that Meyer might move to the NFL, but the coach quashed those … sort of.
“I believe I will not coach again,” he said at the press conference. “Fairly certain, yes. God has a plan. I’m not quite sure what that is.” He added that he wanted to “stay involved” in football.
In his new role, Meyer will certainly stay involved with the program, but not too involved. Gene Smith made that clear.
It’s one of the reasons he moved the office out of the athletic complex. Smith did not want Meyer to have undue influence or put too much pressure on the new coach, Ryan Day.
Plus, Meyer is assistant AD for the entire athletic department, not just the football program.
“I’m not that worried about it, but it’s something we have to pay attention to,” Smith told Cleveland.com. “I’m not that worried because of our relationship. I’m very direct with him. If I see him step over, I’ll say, ‘Hey, buddy, let’s talk about that.’ We have that relationship where I can say, ‘Brother, you’ve got to be careful here. What are you doing?’”
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