Urban Meyer was asked Tuesday afternoon at his news conference if he would be coaching again after his retirement from Ohio State.
“I believe I will not coach again,” Meyer said.
Meyer, 54, announced his decision to step down as Ohio State’s coach Tuesday morning. He explained before he said he believed that he wouldn’t coach again that the timing of his decision came because of the early signing period for high school players later in December. Meyer has been one of the best recruiters in college football over the last 20 years. It’s only natural that his retirement decision is closely aligned with recruiting.
“The thing that really started to make things was recruits started to ask me, ‘Will you be here for 4-5 years?’ ” Meyer said. “Recruits I’m very close with. And the early signing day has put pressure all over this world. The college football world. Ryan is going to be in four states tomorrow I imagine. He better be.”
Early signing is December 19-21.
“We lost a week of recruiting and the signing day’s coming up,” Meyer continued. “And that’s 90 — over 92 percent of kids sign on that day. If you sign a scholarship and the coach decides to leave after that, they’re free to go. So this was — and people say why would you let recruiting get in the way? That’s a silly question. If you want to have a good team, you recruit. And you recruit very hard. So that put a little push on it.”
The Ryan that Meyer mentioned is offensive coordinator Ryan Day, who takes over as Ohio State’s coach on Jan. 2 after the Rose Bowl. Day was the team’s interim coach for the first three games of the season when Meyer was serving a suspension for his handling of allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith.
Day will receive a 5-year contract from Ohio State that’s worth $4.5 million per season.
Suspension ‘did have an impact’ in decision to retire
Meyer revealed after he returned to the sideline in October that he had been dealing with headaches due to a cyst in his brain. He said being suspended didn’t exacerbate his headaches — which can be intensified because of stress — but did impact his decision to leave Ohio State.
“As difficult a time as it was, that didn’t have as much of on the headaches but it did have an impact,” Meyer said.
Meyer said headaches “hit real hard” after Ohio State played Penn State in 2017. That got him started thinking about his future.
“More specific was Penn State a year ago. That hit real hard,” Meyer said. “And we have a great medical team that helped me through it. Was on medicine and all that. We had conversations back then about longevity and the seriousness of it because they said it’s not your elbow or your foot.”
Meyer also said that he could not adapt to a “CEO” type style with a more hands-off approach if he wanted to coach differently to extend his career.
“The style of coaching that I’ve done for 33 years is a very intense, very demanding … I’ve tried to delegate more, be CEOish more and the product started to fail,” he said.
The discussions about Meyer’s future became serious over the last month, athletic director Gene Smith said. As he talked with Meyer about the next steps for the Ohio State football program, Smith said the team decided not to look outside for a new coach because Day was already on staff.
“It’s rare that you have the opportunity create a succession plan where you have the right person in place,” Smith said.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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• Where Meyer’s accomplishments rank in CFB history
• 10 things to know about Meyer’s Ohio State successor