Fan vote now live at ESPN.com
Third-year coach has the Buckeyes in the inaugural College Football Playoff
14-year-old with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and his brother, Noah, were honorary captains
155 to receive degrees in Ohio Stadium
Ohio State one of eight football programs visited by ESPN this spring.
Photos from the Buckeyes' 42-35 win over Alabama.
Photos from the latest chapter in the greatest rivalry in all of sports, Ohio State-Michigan.
The Buckeyes and Hoosiers square off at the Shoe as the Buckeyes look to clinch the East Division of the Big Ten.
Ohio State vs. Indiana (USATSI)
Ohio State hosted Kent State on Saturday, September 13, 2014 in Ohio Stadium.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is building the kind of resume - three national championships and an 11-victory per year pace for his entire 13-year career - that has him positioned among the best collegiate coaches. Ever. His winning ways and his team's achievements are at or near the top of all the major collegiate coaching records. Consider:
Making the Great State of Ohio Proud
A youthful 2014 team that featured four new starters on the offensive line, a freshman quarterback, a new running back and a defense that improved every week took each game one at a time and dismantled its opponent week after week by an average margin of victory of 23 points.
The Buckeyes stayed perfect in Big Ten play under Meyer by winning all eight games to extend their conference record-winning streak to 24 games. Then with Cardale Jones replacing the injured J.T. Barrett, who replaced the injured Braxton Miller at quarterback, the Buckeyes pounded Wisconsin, 59-0, to win the Big Ten Conference championship; a win so convincing the team earned one of four positions in the first College Football Playoff.
In the CFP semifinals at the Allstate Sugar Bowl, Ohio State came back from 21-6 deficit behind outstanding defense and 230 rushing yards from Ezekiel Elliott to defeat No. 1 Alabama, 42-35, and claim the Sugar Bowl championship and a date in the national championship game vs. No. 2 Oregon.
And 11 days later in the CFP National Championship game at Reliant Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the Ohio State defense was again dominant and Elliott led an offensive charge with 246 rushing yards and four touchdowns in the 42-20 victory.
Meyer's Ohio State Buckeyes are the 2014 national champions, and Meyer was named the Rawlings 2014 Football Bowl Subdivision Coach of the Year, The Dispatch Ohio College Coach of the Year and the Phil Steele Coach of the Year.
But winning games, competing for championships and developing outstanding young men to succeed in life is what Meyer came home to Ohio to do as coach of the Buckeyes. The wins and championships are well documented. The efforts that Meyer and his staff engage their student-athletes in to ensure they are prepared for life after football are equally important and impressive.
Real Life Wednesdays
Dimon's discussion with the team was the first this year of about a dozen such lectures and activities for the Ohio State players to learn from in the program. The goal each year is to introduce the team to influential individuals who can share insight into succeeding in life after football is over. Other speakers typically address the job interview process, finances, starting and building a successful business, parenting and other career endeavors.
This year there will be an "application" part to the lectures vs. just theory. If a financial manager comes in to talk about credit scores, the players are going to actually learn what their scores are. They are also going to learn about lease payments for cars and apartments and how people get into trouble with leases.
Internships & Job Fairs
Additional speakers will come through the Woody Hayes Athletic Center to speak during a spring practice or at a team meeting. Past guests have included Lou Holtz, NFL coaches like Marvin Lewis, Chip Kelly and Greg Schiano, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and retired Navy SEAL and "Lone Survivor" Marcus Luttrell.
The third-annual football Job Fair will take place on May 29. More than 50 companies across all sectors, including hospitality, law enforcement, broadcasting, medical sales, athletic administration, finance and business, will send human resource representatives to meet with and ask questions of the Buckeye student-athletes. Contacts are made. Relationships are built. Life after football is in motion.
Back Home to Ohio
Ohio is proud. Meyer & Co. made history in his first season as Ohio State coach in 2012, 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 awarded the Woody Hayes Trophy as national Coach of the Year by the Touchdown Club of Columbus. He was also a finalist for four additional 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.
The winning and the history making continued for Meyer and the Buckeyes in Year 2, with Ohio State extending its winning streak to school-record status (24 games) and ultimately finishing a 12-2 season with a second consecutive Big Ten Leaders Division title, a berth into the Big Ten championship game and an invite to the Discover Orange Bowl.
Then in Year 3 his Buckeyes shook off the loss of two starting quarterbacks and an early season loss to win the 35th Big Ten Conference championship in school history and qualify as one of four teams for the first College Football Playoff. And in the playoffs, the Buckeyes rolled to a CFP semifinal win over No. 1 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and then to a CFP national championship game win over No. 2 Oregon.
Ohio State set 26 team records in 2014 alone with the NCAA record for wins in a season most impressive, but the Big Ten record for total offensive yards (7,674), the school records for passing yards (3,707) and touchdown passes (42) and the Big Ten championship game record for turnovers forced (four) will long be remembered.
In 2013, 12 single season records were broken, including an Ohio State and Big Ten record 4,321 rushing yards.
24th Coach in Ohio State History
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 then-President E. Gordon Gee and Director of Athletics Gene Smith.
Meyer had sat out the 2011 football season to devote time to his family and to work as an analyst for ESPN prior to his return to collegiate coaching.
"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 had 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 had not only won big at each of his three previous head coaching positions, but he had 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.
"I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to return to Ohio State," Meyer said during his initial press conference. "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
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. Ohio State won a Big Ten title in 1986 and 1987 was Bruce's final season as coach.
It was during his time as a Buckeye when 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 does 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
He followed that first year with a 9-3 record in his second season with the Falcons, including another win over Missouri. After BGSU 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 was 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.
Made Players Believers
"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
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 represented the first consecutive championships by one school in conference history.
The 2004 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 he was established as a proven winner. And the University of Florida was in need of a coach.
Simply Great in Gainesville
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, featured Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback 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 Florida team's senior class departed with the best record for a class in SEC history: 48-7.
Meyer coached his last Florida team to an 8-5 record in 2010. His last game as Florida coach was 37-24 win over Penn State in the Outback Bowl, in Tampa, Fla.
Meyer is a Buckeye
And the rest of this story is future history.
More on Urban Meyer ...
BOWLING GREEN - 2001 (8-3; 5-3 MAC)
BOWLING GREEN - 2002 (9-3; 6-2 MAC)
UTAH - 2003 (10-2; 6-1 MWC/CHAMPION)
UTAH - 2004 (12-0; 7-0 MWC/CHAMPION)
FLORIDA - 2005 (9-3; 5-3 SEC)
FLORIDA - 2006 (13-1; 7-1 SEC/CHAMPION; NATIONAL CHAMPION)
FLORIDA - 2007 (9-4; 5-3 SEC)
FLORIDA - 2008 (13-1; 7-1 SEC/CHAMPION; NATIONAL CHAMPION)
FLORIDA - 2009 (13-1; 7-1 SEC)
FLORIDA - 2010 (8-5; 4-4 SEC)
OHIO STATE - 2012 (12-0; 8-0 BIG TEN)
OHIO STATE - 2013 (12-2; 8-0 BIG TEN)
OHIO STATE - 2014 (14-1; 8-0 BIG TEN/CHAMPION; NATIONAL CHAMPION)
Urban Meyer Quick Facts