The Ohio State University
Urban Meyer made history in his first season as Ohio State coach, guiding the Scarlet and Gray to only the sixth undefeated and untied season in school history with a 12-0 record and also to a Big Ten Conference Leaders Division championship. He was named a finalist for four national Coach of the Year Awards - the FWAA's Eddie Robinson Award, the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year, the Paul "Bear" Bryant and the Bobby Bowden Coach of the Year awards - for his (and his staff's) efforts to turn a team that had no chance at a post-season into an Associated Press Top 3 team.
Meyer and staff built this unbeaten team that led the Big Ten in scoring and ranked second in rushing by convincing the players the most important thing they could do was win the next game; practice hard, prepare well and simply find ways to win, and by winning the team would realize its 2012 rewards. And by winning it would honor a senior class that included 13 scholarship players who could have left and played for any bowl-eligible team in the country. And by winning it would reinforce Meyer's abilities to build a championship-caliber team, of which he has done multiple times before, even after taking a year off from coaching.
Win is what Meyer's Ohio State team did. It won dominantly: 63-38 over Legends Division champion Nebraska; 52-22 over Illinois and 56-10 over Miami. It won close: 17-16 at No. 20 Michigan State. It won by good fortune: 29-22 in overtime over Purdue behind backup quarterback Kenny Guiton. It won ugly: 52-49 at Indiana after leading 52-34 with less than seven minutes to play. And it won the big one...three of them, in fact: 35-23 at Penn State; 21-14 in overtime at Wisconsin; and 26-21 over Michigan.
Winning games and winning championships is what Meyer came home to do as coach of the Buckeyes. Born in Toledo, raised in Ashtabula and with degrees from Cincinnati and Ohio State, Meyer made it clear from the day he took the Ohio State position - Nov. 28, 2011 - what his intentions are: "We're going to make the great state of Ohio proud with everything we do."
Ohio is proud today and Meyer, named the Ohio College Coach of the Year by his coaching peers in the state, has the proven deeds to keep the state beaming for years to come. Consider:
- Ohio State's 12-0 record was the second undefeated season for Meyer, who also went 12-0 at Utah in 2004;
- In his 11 seasons as a head coach, Meyer has the 10th-best winning percentage (.835) in college football history, and second-best among current coaches, with a 116-23 record;
- He has won two national championships;
- He has won 13 games three times, the first to accomplish the feat, in addition to his two 12-win seasons;
- He is the only active coach - and one of only nine all time - to have two winning streaks of at least 20 games (22 at Florida and 20 with Utah/Florida), and he has five winning streaks of 10-or-more games;
- He won more games his first 10 years - 104 - than all but two coaches in college football history; and
- He reached 100 wins faster than all but one coach in the last 55 years - Bud Wilkinson - and faster than all but five coaches all-time.
Meyer, who is 48, will work his 27th season as a collegiate coach in 2013.
24th Coach in Ohio State History
Urban Meyer became the 24th head coach in the storied history of Ohio State football when he signed a six-year agreement to coach the Buckeyes on Nov. 28, 2011. He was the only candidate interviewed by a five-member search committee of senior Ohio State leaders, headed by President E. Gordon Gee and Director of Athletics Gene Smith.
Meyer returned to collegiate coaching after sitting out the 2011 season to devote time to his family - wife Shelley, college-age daughters Nicole (who will graduate in 2013 from Georgia Tech) and Gigi (a junior in Fall 2013at Florida Gulf Coast) and 13-year-old son Nathan (eighth-grader) - and to work as an analyst for ESPN.
"In Urban Meyer we have found an exemplary person and remarkable coach to lead the University's football program into the future," Gee said. "As an alumnus, he understands and believes in the core academic mission of the University. As an Ohioan, he shares our common values and sense of purpose."
Smith said that Meyer is "known not only as one of the nation's most successful coaches, but also as a leader and mentor who cares deeply about the young men who are his student-athletes. He brings with him an understanding of the University - both the important traditions of its football program and the excellence of the institution."
It's easy to see why he was the No. 1 choice of the search committee.
Meyer has already won two national championships - in 2006 and 2008 with the University of Florida - and no less than three national coach of the year honors, including The Sporting News honor in 2003 and the Eddie Robinson and Home Depot Coach of the Year awards, respectively, in 2004.
Meyer has not only won big at each of his three previous head coaching positions, but he has won immediately. He led Bowling Green to the best turnaround season in the nation in 2001 with an 8-3 record and he went 9-3 in Year 2. He was 22-2 in two seasons at Utah, including a 16-game winning streak and a 12-0 campaign in 2004 when he led the first-ever non-Bowl Championship Season program into a BCS game.
He was 65-15 in his six seasons at Florida with the two national titles, two Southeastern Conference championships and three 13-win seasons, including consecutive 13-win seasons in 2008 and 2009 to become the first coach ever to accomplish that feat.
And now he has led his home state school - he has lived in Ohio for 26 years and it is where he met his wife, the former Shelley Mather, who grew up in Frankfort, Ohio.
"I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to return to Ohio State," said Meyer upon being hired. "This University and the state of Ohio have enormous meaning to me. My duty is to ensure that Ohio State's football program reflects and enhances the academic mission of the institution. I am part of it, I believe in it, and I will live it."
It all Started In Ohio
After graduating from Saint John High School in Ashtabula, Meyer was a 13th-round MLB draft pick of the Atlanta Braves and spent two years in minor league baseball. He matriculated to Cincinnati and played defensive back for the football program, graduating in 1986 with his bachelor's degree in psychology.
Meyer's first football coaching experience was as an intern at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati in 1986. The following year, he joined Coach Earle Bruce's staff at Ohio State and spent two years as a graduate assistant - coaching tight ends in 1986 and receivers in 1987 - while pursuing his master's degree in sports administration.
It was during his time as a Buckeye - Ohio State won a Big Ten title in 1986 and 1987 was Bruce's final season as coach - that he forged a relationship with Bruce that has only been strengthened through the tests of time and change.
"My relationship with him [Earle] is extremely close, second only to my father," Meyer said during the news conference to announce his hiring at Ohio State...17 days after his father, Bud, passed away.
"Every step of my career, every part of my family life, Coach Bruce has always been there. So close that he was gracious enough to speak at my father's funeral just last Friday."
Meyer, as every young coach who aspires to be a head coach and who thirsts for knowledge, then moved on to a series of assistant coaching positions - Illinois State for two years under Jim Heacock, Colorado State for six years under Sonny Lubick and Bruce, and Notre Dame for one year under Lou Holtz and five years under Bob Davie - before getting his first head coaching assignment at Bowling Green.
First Year: Coach of the Year
Taking over a team that was 2-9 in 2000 and that had not had a winning season seven years, Meyer guided the Falcons to the top turnaround in the nation in 2001 with a six-win improvement and an 8-3 record that included wins over Missouri, Northwestern and BGSU's rival to its north, Toledo. He was named Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year.
He followed that first year with a 9-3 record in his second year with the Falcons, including another win over Missouri. After BG opened the season with eight consecutive wins, the program cracked both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Top 25 polls for the first time in school history, peaking with an all-time school best No. 16 national ranking by ESPN/USA Today.
Meyer's BGSU teams were anything but one-dimensional. His 2002 team led the nation in red zone production with 61 scores in 63 trips inside the 20 (.968) and were ninth in total offense (448.9 yards per game). Defensively, his 2001 team ranked first in the MAC in scoring, rushing and total defense and his teams led the MAC both years in turnover margin.
Josh Harris, who became a starter at quarterback in the ninth game of the 2001 season and reeled off 11 consecutive wins as a starter, told Plain Dealer reporter Elton Alexander that his former coach simply made players believe they were as good as any other team.
"One thing for sure, when coach Meyer believes in a guy, he might even believe in him more than the guy believes in himself," Harris said. "There was a time when I had to get my belief in Josh Harris up to where Urban Meyer believed that Josh Harris was. That really propelled me, and my game, to new levels.
"That's one of the things he did for me that I will always be thankful for."
The Move Out West
Meyer moved on to the University of Utah following the 2002 season and in two seasons led the Utes to a 22-2 record. He was named national Coach of the Year in 2003 by The Sporting News and in 2004 he was named the Football Writers Association of America's Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year and the Home Depot Coach of the Year.
In his first season in Salt Lake City, Meyer coached the Utes to their first outright conference championship since 1957, a 17-0 Liberty Bowl win over Southern Mississippi, and a final national ranking of No. 21. In addition to his national coach of the year honor by The Sporting News, Meyer was named Mountain West Conference coach of the year and thus became the first coach in Utah's 111-year football history to earn such an honor in his first year.
Utah then enjoyed the finest season in program history in 2004. The 12-0 record was the first 12-0 season in 75 years and a second-consecutive outright MWC championship was the first in conference history.
The Utah offense was unstoppable, finishing in the Top 5 in six categories, including No. 3 in scoring (45.3), total offense (499.7) and turnover margin (1.25). The team also led the MWC in 11 statistical categories and was No. 2 in passing, scoring and total defense.
Following Utah's 16th consecutive win, a 35-7 pummeling of Pitt in the Fiesta Bowl, Meyer's record was a sterling 39-7 as a head coach and the University of Florida was in need of a coach.
Simply Great in Gainesville
"Urban's accomplishments speak for themselves," Florida Athletics Director Jeremy Foley said. And this was before Meyer had even begun to blow his previous coaching accomplishments out of the water with the even-greater success he would experience coaching the Gators.
Meyer coached Florida to a 9-3 record in his initial season, a record that included wins over four nationally ranked opponents, making Meyer the first first-year coach in UF history to accomplish the feat.
Meyer's Year 2 success - he was a combined 21-3 in his second season at Bowling Green and Utah - continued in Gainesville as he led the Gators to a school-record 13 wins, and SEC and national championships against the toughest schedule in the nation. Florida played six ranked teams and 11 of its opponents went to bowl games. The BCS Championship game win: 41-14 over No. 1 ranked Ohio State in Glendale, Ariz. Meyer was named national Coach of the Year by the All-American Foundation at the conclusion of the season.
The 2007 Gator team went 9-3 and featured a Heisman Trophy-winning Tim Tebow and ranked third nationally with an average of 42.5 points per game.
Consecutive 13-win seasons followed in 2008 and 2009, a first in major college history. The 2008 team was the most prolific offensive unit in SEC history with 611 points scored against the nation's second-toughest schedule. Meyer won a second national championship this season, with Florida defeating Oklahoma, 24-14, in the BCS Championship game in Miami, Fla.
The only blemish on an otherwise spectacular 13-1 2009 season was to eventual national champion Alabama in the SEC championship game. This team's senior class departed with the best record for a class in SEC history: 48-7.
Meyer, who took a brief leave of absence from coaching following the 2009 season, coached his last Florida team to an 8-5 record. His last game as Florida coach was 37-24 win over Penn State in the Outback Bowl, in Tampa, Fla.
Back Home to Ohio
On Wednesday, Nov. 23, Ohio State Director of Athletics Gene Smith first talked to Meyer about returning to coaching after spending the year in an ESPN analyst booth. On Sunday, Nov. 27, Smith presented Meyer with terms for a six-year contract. Less than 24 hours later Meyer was a Buckeye.
And the rest of this story is future history.
More Notes on Urban Meyer:
- Only two coaches have had more victories in their first 10 years as a head coach than Meyer's 104: George Woodruff (124 between 1892-1901 at Pennsylvania) and Bob Stoops (109 between 1999-2008). Note: records include at least five years as a Division I coach.
- Meyer has won 13 games three times during his career, including back-to-back in 2008 and 2009 to become the first BCS coach to ever accomplish that feat.
- His teams are 21-3 in "rivalry games." Bowling Green was 1-1 vs. Toledo; Utah was 4-0 vs. Utah State and BYU; Florida was 16-2 vs. Florida State, Tennessee and Georgia; and Ohio State is 1-0 vs. Michigan.
- His teams are also 68-18 in conference play with four championships (two apiece at Utah and Florida). They are also 2-1 in SEC title games and 7-1 in bowl games, including a 4-0 record in BCS bowl games.
- Meyer has coached his teams to winning streaks of 11 games (Bowling Green), 20 games (16 at Utah and four at Florida), 11 games (Florida), 22 games (Florida) and 13 games (Florida and Ohio State).
- His teams have 15 wins by 40-or-more points and another 21 wins by at least 30 points for a total of 46 wins by considerable margins.
- Meyer's teams are 2-2 vs. the No. 1 team in the nation, 7-3 vs. Top 5 teams, 11-4 vs. Top 10 teams and 21-7 vs. Top 25 teams.
- Both the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated named Meyer "Coach of the Decade" in December 2009.
- So far, 30 of his former Florida Gator players have been chosen in the NFL Draft, including more first-round selections - eight - than any other school has produced in the last five years.
- Meyer has watched a total of 36 players that he coached for at least two years get selected in the NFL Draft, including nine first-round draft picks.
- Of those 36 NFL Draft picks, three were quarterbacks: Bowling Green's Josh Harris was a sixth-round selection by Baltimore in the 2004 NFL Draft and Utah's Alex Smith (San Francisco, 2005) and Florida's Tim Tebow (Denver, 2010) were each No. 1 draft picks with Smith the overall No. 1 pick.
- In addition to Smith and Tebow, Meyer's first-round draft picks include offensive linemen Maurkice Pouncey (Pittsburgh, 2010) and Mike Pouncey (Miami, 2011); defensive linemen Jarvis Moss (Denver, 2007) and Derrick Harvey (Jacksonville, 2008); defensive backs Reggie Nelson (Jacksonville, 2007) and Joe Haden (Cleveland, 2010); and wide receiver/running back Percy Harvin (Minnesota, 2009).
- With the exception of kickers, Meyer has had multiple players at every position drafted into the NFL, including a position-best 10 defensive linemen, seven wide receivers, six defensive backs and five offensive linemen.
- Eight of Meyer's former assistant coaches are head coaches: Steve Addazio (Boston College); Gary Anderson (Wisconsin), Tim Beckman (Illinois); John "Doc Holliday (Marshall); Dan McCarney (North Texas); Dan Mullen (Mississippi State), Charlie Strong (Louisville) and Kyle Whittingham (Utah).
- Eight of his former assistant coaches are offensive (OC) defensive (DC), passing game (PG) or run game (RG) coordinators: Vance Bedford (DC at Louisville); Gregg Brandon (OC at Wyoming); Chuck Heater (DC at Marshall); John Hevesy (RG at Mississippi State); Greg Mattison (DC at Michigan) and Greg Studrawa (OC at LSU).
Urban Meyer - Game-by-Game
Bowling Green - 2001
|Sept. 1||at Missouri||W||20-13|
|Sept. 22||Temple||W|| 42-23|
|Sept. 29||at Marshall||L||31-37|
|Oct. 6||Kent State||W||24-7|
|Oct. 13||at W. Michigan||L||28-37|
|Oct. 20||at Akron||W||16-11|
|Nov. 10||at Ohio||W||17-0|
|Nov. 17||at Northwestern||W||43-42|
Bowling Green - 2002
|Aug. 29||Tennessee Tech||W||41-7|
|Sept. 21||at Kansas||W||39-16|
|Oct. 12||at C. Michigan||W||45-35|
|Oct. 19||W. Michigan||W||48-45 OT|
|Oct. 26||Ball State||W||38-20|
|Nov. 2||at Kent State||W||45-14|
|Nov. 9||at N. Illinois||L||17-26|
|Nov. 16||at USF||L||7-29|
|Nov. 23||E. Michigan||W||63-21|
|Nov. 30||at Toledo||L||24-42|
Utah - 2003
@Liberty Bowl at Memphis
|Aug. 28||Utah State||W||40-20|
|Sept. 6||at Texas A&M||L ||26-28|
|Sept. 27||at Colorado State||W||28-21|
|Oct. 11||San Diego State ||W||27-6|
|Oct. 18||at UNLV||W||28-10|
|Oct. 25||New Mexico||L||35-47|
|Nov. 1||at Air Force||W||45-43 (3OT)|
|Nov. 22||at BYU||W||3-0|
|Dec. 31||vs. Southern Miss@||W||17-0|
Utah - 2004
@Fiesta Bowl at Scottsdale, Ariz.
|Sept. 2||Texas A&M||W||41-21|
|Sept. 11||at Arizona||W||23-6|
|Sept. 18||at Utah State||W||48-6|
|Sept. 25||Air Force||W||49-35|
|Oct. 1||at New Mexico||W||28-7|
|Oct. 16||North Carolina||W||46-16|
|Oct. 30||at San Diego State||W||51-28|
|Nov. 6||Colorado State||W||63-31|
|Nov. 13||at Wyoming||W||45-28|
|Jan. 1||vs. Pittsburgh@||W||35-7|
Florida - 2005
*at Jacksonville; @Outback Bowl at Tampa, Fla.
|Sept. 10||Louisiana Tech||W||41-3|
|Sept. 24||at Kentucky||W||49-28|
|Oct. 1||at Alabama||L||3-31|
|Oct. 8||Mississippi St.||W||35-9|
|Oct. 15||at LSU||L||17-21|
|Oct. 29||vs. Georgia*||W||14-10|
|Nov. 5||Vanderbilt||W||49-42 (2OT)|
|Nov. 12||at South Carolina||L||22-30|
|Nov. 26||Florida State||W||34-7|
|Jan. 2||vs. Iowa@||W||31-24|
Florida - 2006
* at Jacksonville, Fla.; # SEC Championship game at Atlanta; @ BCS National Championship at Scottsdale, Ariz.
|Sept. 2||Southern Miss||W||34-7|
|Sept. 16||at Tennessee||W||21-20|
|Oct. 14||at Auburn||L||17-27|
|Oct. 28||vs. Georgia*||W||21-14|
|Nov. 4||at Vanderbilt||W||25-19|
|Nov. 11||South Carolina||W||17-16|
|Nov. 18||Western Carolina||W||62-0|
|Nov. 25||at Florida State||W||21-14|
|Dec. 2||vs. Arkansas#||W||38-28|
|Jan. 8||vs. Ohio State@||W||41-14|
Florida - 2007
*at Jacksonville, Fla.; @Capital One Bowl at Orlando, Fla.
|Sept. 1||W. Kentucky||W||49-3|
|Sept. 22||at Ole Miss||W||30-24|
|Oct. 6||at LSU||L||24-28|
|Oct. 20||at Kentucky||W||45-37|
|Oct. 27||vs. Georgia*||L||30-42|
|Nov. 10||at So. Carolina||W||51-31|
|Nov. 17||Fla. Atlantic||W||59-20|
|Nov. 24||Florida State||W||45-12|
|Jan. 1||vs. Michigan@||L||35-41|
Florida - 2008
*at Jacksonville, Fla.; #SEC championship game at Atlanta; @BCS National Championship game at Miami, Fla.
|Sept. 20||at Tennessee||W||30-6|
|Sept. 27||Ole Miss||L||30-31|
|Oct. 4||at Arkansas||W||38-7|
|Nov. 1||vs. Georgia*||W||49-10|
|Nov. 8||at Vanderbilt||W||42-12|
|Nov. 15||So. Carolina||W||56-6|
|Nov. 22||The Citadel||W||70-19|
|Nov. 29||at Florida State||W||45-15|
|Dec. 6||vs. Alabama#||W||31-20|
|Jan. 8||vs. Oklahoma@||W||24-14|
Florida - 2009
*at Jacksonville, Fla.; #SEC championship game at Atlanta; @Sugar Bowl at New Orleans
|Sept. 5||Charleston Southern||W||62-3|
|Sept. 26||at Kentucky||W||41-7|
|Oct. 10||at LSU||W||13-3|
|Oct. 24||at Mississippi State||W||29-19|
|Oct. 31||vs. Georgia*||W||41-17|
|Nov. 14||at South Carolina||W||24-14|
|Nov. 21||Florida International||W||62-3|
|Nov. 28||Florida State||W||37-0|
|Dec. 5||vs. Alabama#||L||13-32|
|Jan. 1||vs. Cincinnati@||W||51-24|
Florida - 2010
*at Jacksonville, Fla.; @Outback Bowl at Tampa, Fla.
|Sept. 4||Miami Univ.||W||34-12|
|Sept. 11||South Florida||W||38-14|
|Sept. 18||at Tennessee||W||31-17|
|Oct. 2||at Alabama||L||3-31|
|Oct. 16||Mississippi State||L||7-10|
|Oct. 30||vs. Georgia*||W||34-31 OT|
|Nov. 6||at Vanderbilt||W||55-14|
|Nov. 13||South Carolina||L||14-36|
|Nov. 20||Appalachian State||W||48-10|
|Nov. 27||at Florida State||L||7-31|
|Jan. 1||vs. Penn State@||W||37-24|
Ohio State - 2012
|Sept. 1||Miami Univ.||W||56-10|
|Sept. 8||Central Florida||W||31-16|
|Sept. 29||at Michigan State||W||17-16|
|Oct. 13||at Indiana||W||52-49|
|Oct. 20||Purdue||W||29-22 OT|
|Oct. 27||at Penn State||W||35-22|
|Nov. 17||at Wisconsin||W||21-14 OT|
Urban Meyer Quick Facts
Hometown: Ashtabula, Ohio
High School: St. John
Alma Mater: Cincinnati, 1986
Master's Degree: Ohio State, 1988
Year in Coaching: 27th (Second year at Ohio State)
Children: Daughters, Nicole and Gigi, and son, Nathan
|COACHING EXPERIENCE |
|2012-pres.||Head Coach||Ohio State|
|2001-02||Head Coach||Bowling Green|
|1996-00||Wide Receivers||Notre Dame|
|1990-95||Wide Receivers||Colorado State|
|1989||Quarterbacks/Wide Receivers||Illinois State|
|1988||Outside Linebackers||Illinois State|
|1987||Grad Assistant (Wide Receivers)||Ohio State|
|1986||Grad Assistant (Tight Ends)||Ohio State|
|HEAD COACHING RECORD |
|Year ||School ||Record ||Conference Record (Finish) ||Final Poll* |
| 2001 || Bowling Green || 8-3 || 5-3 || NR |
| 2002 || Bowling Green || 9-3 || 6-2 || NR |
| 2003 || Utah || 10-2 || 6-1 (First) || 21/21 |
| 2004 || Utah || 12-0 || 7-0 (First) || 4/5/3 |
| 2005 || Florida || 9-3 || 5-3 || 12/16 |
| 2006 || Florida || 13-1 || 7-1 (First) || 1/1 |
| 2007 |
| 9-4 || 5-3 || 13/16 |
| 2008 || Florida || 13-1 || 7-1 (First) || 1/1 |
| 2009 || Florida || 13-1 || 8-0 (First, East) || 3/3 |
|Totals: ||11 Years ||116-23 ||68-18 |
|* Polls listed AP/Coaches'/Sports Illustrated |
|BOWL GAMES AS A COACH |
| 1987 || Cotton Bowl |
| 1990 || Freedom Bowl |
| 1994 || Holiday Bowl |
| 1995 || Holiday Bowl |
| 1997 || Independence Bowl |
| 1998 || Gator Bowl |
| 2001 || Fiesta Bowl |
| 2003 || Liberty Bowl |
| 2005 || Fiesta Bowl |
| 2006 || Outback Bowl |
| 2007 || Tostitos BCS National Championship Game |
| 2008 || Capital One Bowl |
| 2009 || FedEx BCS National Championship Game |
| 2010 || AllState Sugar Bowl |