CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - It’s ‘see you later’ not ‘goodbye’ for Urban Meyer at The Ohio State University.
Meyer announced his retirement from coaching in a press conference Tuesday afternoon but says he hopes this isn’t the end of the road for his relationship with his beloved Buckeyes.
“This is home, this is where I grew up,” Meyer said.
News of his abrupt decision to step down broke Tuesday morning on Twitter with multiple sources reporting offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day would take over.
Speculation over Meyer’s future with the university ran rampant over the season with reports of the coach’s health playing a factor as well as the scandal surrounding his suspension at the beginning of the season.
Meyer had been on administrative leave after a report suggested he knew about an alleged domestic violence incident involving ex-assistant Zach Smith. He was later suspended without pay for the first three games of the season.
He addressed whether the suspension and off-field issues over the summer surrounding his ex-assistant played a role in his decision to step away from the program.
“The decision was a cumulative decision of many events with health being the top reason and having a competent coach (Day) being another one. This summer was one reason,” Meyer said.
He confirmed his health was a large factor in his decision. Reports say Meyer has dealt with ‘painful and aggressive’ headaches due to a congenital arachnoid cyst in his brain.
Meyer had surgery to relieve the pain in 2014 but has dealt with pain for the last two years and it has limited his job performance, Yahoo says.
He said his headaches and pain began to get bad again in 2017 and they became worse in 2018.
Ohio State’s new former coach also addressed how the job had become unhealthy for him mentally.
“It’s not healthy but I came to work every day with a fear of letting Archie Griffin down and the state down,” Meyer said.
Meyer and Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith said Meyer’s decision to step down was not final until the last minute.
“I said if you want to pull the plug on this thing I’ll call it off right now,” Smith said when asked how his conversation with Meyer went.
Smith said he knew Monday night Meyer would make the decision to step down, but Meyer said he wasn’t sure until Tuesday morning.
Meyer said he spoke to unnamed recruits and told them his decision to step away from coaching was a possibility to gauge their reaction.
“I knew this would be a tough day, this would be awful, this is where we are from,” Meyer said.
Both Smith and Meyer expressed hope that Meyer would have a future role with Ohio State.
Beginning Jan. 2, Ohio State’s football team will be lead by Ryan Day.
Smith says the decision to hand the program over to Day was an easy one and there wasn’t a need to look outside the current coaching staff.
“I’ve learned quickly the expectation here is: Win the rival game - and win every other game,” Day said.
Meyer says though it was difficult to walk away the job he loves, having competent leadership with Day is what made the decision easier.
Urban Meyer will lead the Buckeyes to the Rose Bowl Jan. 1 where they will face ninth ranked Washington in Meyer’s final game.
Though his time with the team will end in less than a month, Meyer says he has no plans to leave Columbus.
“It’s my home. My son is just an hour and a half away in Cincinnati and both of my daughters are here,” Meyer said.
Some have a hard time believing this is is Meyer’s last stop on his coaching journey.
Meyer retired from coaching once before after spending six years as the head coach of the Florida Gators before taking the job at Ohio State.
“I’ve always wanted to be a Buckeye as long as I can remember,” Meyer said.
He insisted the Rose Bowl would be his final game as a head coach.
“I believe I will not coach again. Fairly certain,” Meyer said.
Meyer may be ending his professional relationship with The Ohio State University, but the press conference made clear that the relationship between Meyer and Smith will remain.