On May 31, 2011, there were so many unknowns surrounding the future of the Ohio State Buckeyes football program. With Jim Tressel’s (forced) resignation following Tattoogate, no one really knew what direction the Buckeyes would head to on the gridiron. One of the most prestigious college football programs in the country, many expected them to have the ability to hire almost anyone than wanted, but the majority of people didn’t know who that would be.
When Luke Fickell took over as the interim coach for the 2011 season, a season that Ohio State struggled in, going just 6-7, it was pretty clear that he shouldn’t be the head guy going forward and for the foreseeable future. Then suddenly, Urban Meyer was hired to be the 24th coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes. It was not only a big-time hire but one that made many members of Buckeye Nation very happy. While Tressel was a great coach, Meyer could (and did) take the Buckeyes to a whole new level on the gridiron. He did just that.
His first season leading Ohio State, he led his team to a perfect 12-0 record. Unable to go to a bowl game due to the scandal, Meyer finished his first season in Columbus with an unblemished. It was clear that the Buckeyes were in good hands. That remained the case throughout Meyer’s seven years leading the scarlet and gray.
What soon-to-be-retired head coach Urban Meyer did during his seven-year stint as the head coach of the Buckeyes is nothing short of remarkable. There have been a number of outstanding coaches in Ohio State’s long, storied history on the gridiron. Meyer may be the best, which truly shows just how impressive he was. Let’s take a look at some of his numbers:
Let’s take a look:
While more than one national championship would have certainly been nice, Meyer’s dominance as the head coach at Ohio State truly is incredible:
- 82-9 overall record
- 54-4 in the Big Ten
- One national championship
- Seven consecutive conference division champs
- Three Big Ten titles
- 25- and 23-game winning streaks
- Three (3!) losses in Columbus1
Can you get much better than that? It would be tough.
Keep in mind, that national championship in the inaugural College Football Playoff in 2015 came when Ohio State was forced to lean on a third-string quarterback. Cardale Jones was impressive, to say the least, but part of his success was due to what Meyer, whether it be play calling or making sure his players were best prepared for the big stage no matter where they were on the depth chart all season.
There’s a reason I didn’t include this record above. It’s because it’s so good (and perfect) that it deserves its own category. In terms of success on the field, two things are most important: One, win all of your football games and two, beat Michigan. Meyer not only beat the Wolverines, but he embarrassed them at times, finishing his Ohio State career a perfect 7-0 with the Buckeyes, giving Jim Harbaugh a perfect (imperfect?) 0-4 record in The Game along the way.
Meyer is the only coach in program history to go undefeated against Michigan. Let me say that again: Meyer is the only coach in Ohio State history to go undefeated against their biggest rival. Complete domination. Two things seem to be the most important for any Ohio State football head coach in terms of on-field success: beat Michigan and win championships. Meyer did just that.
NFL Draft success
The Buckeyes, much like Alabama and Clemson, has seemed to be sort of a minor-league team for the NFL. From 2012 to now, Ohio State has had 44 players selected in the NFL Draft, and that doesn’t even include the upcoming 2019 draft. Of those 44, 12 were first-round picks.
Winning championships is important, but making sure your players develop and are the best prepared for the next level is vitally important as well. During Meyer’s seven years at Ohio State, he did both. It’s one of the many reasons why he is such an outstanding coach.
We can go on and on about all of his success, but those seem to be the main points.
Meyer had 38,058,402 reasons to remain as the head coach at Ohio State. If Tuesday’s press conference proved anything, it was that he felt at peace and happy with the decision that he made, even if it meant leaving over $38 million on the table.
During his seven-year run at Ohio State, he won championships, improved the program, and made sure his players had a job after college, whether that be in the NFL or just in the working world. Meyer made it known that he wanted to have 100 percent job placement post-college and did all he could to make sure that happened. It’s one of the many reasons why Ohio State is unlike many programs throughout the country.
You can wish that the Buckeyes had won more national titles since Meyer took over in 2012, but outside of that, you can ask for much more from one of the best coaches in Ohio State history. The Zach Smith situation was ugly and clearly got to Meyer, as he made it known during his press conference Tuesday afternoon, but in terms of on-field success and getting his players best prepared for post-college life and the real world, he went above and beyond and then some.
It will be sad (and weird) to no longer see Meyer on the sidelines, but it was a good seven-year run. Thank you for everything, Urban.
- (Rankings are Final AP Poll)
2014 vs 7-6 VaTech
2015 vs No. 6 Michigan State
2017 vs No. 3 Oklahoma [↩]