Urban Meyer to retire, Ryan Day named Ohio State Head Coach
Meyer has third-highest winning percentage in major college football history; Day is program’s 25th coach
Urban Meyer, who coached 17 collegiate teams to a record of 186-32, three national championships and the third-highest winning percentage in the history of major college football, will retire from coaching following Ohio State’s appearance Jan. 1 at the Rose Bowl Game.
Ryan Day, the Ohio State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach who led the team to a 3-0 record at the start of this season, will take over as head coach of the program on Jan. 2. Day, 39, will have a five-year contract that will pay him $4.5 million annually. He will be the 25th head coach in program history.
“Coach Meyer has built the best program in collegiate athletics, taking Ohio State’s time-honored tradition of excellence and elevating it to new levels,” said President Michael V. Drake. “Year after year, he forges close bonds with our student-athletes and helps them develop into leaders on the field and in our communities. His investment is total. He leaves an incredible record of success and an indelible legacy as Ohio State’s head coach.
“We wish Coach Meyer and his entire family the very best. We know Coach Day and our football program will continue to make Buckeye Nation proud.”
Meyer formally announced his retirement from coaching at a news conference today where Ohio State Senior Vice President and Director of Athletics Gene Smith also announced the hiring of Day as coach.
“I am honored to be able to congratulate our coach, Urban Meyer, on a coaching career that is truly among the finest in the history of our sport,” Smith said, “while at the same time welcome the next head coach, Ryan Day, in the storied history of our program.
“I consider myself to be very fortunate to be in this unique position with a certain College Football Hall of Famer, and one of the rising stars in the coaching profession. I am incredibly proud of both of these gentlemen and am thankful that they are Buckeyes.”
Meyer, the only coach to win national championships coaching teams in two different conferences, is completing his seventh season as Ohio State head coach after also coaching at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida. His Ohio State teams are 82-9, including a 7-0 record versus Michigan and a 54-4 record in the Big Ten Conference with seven consecutive divisional championships and three Big Ten championships.
Meyer’s teams have won back-to-back Big Ten titles, in 2017 and 2018. In his first season in 2012, Meyer guided the Buckeyes to a 12-0 season, just the sixth undefeated and untied season in school history, and in 2014 his Buckeyes captured a Big Ten title and the inaugural College Football Playoff national championship.
“It has been an honor to represent for the last seven years this football program, my home state of Ohio, this university and community that I care so deeply about,” Meyer said. “I am grateful to Buckeye Nation, the students, faculty, our administration and, most importantly, our student-athletes for their support and respect for this program during this time.”
Only Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy had higher winning percentages as a coach than Meyer, whose .785 winning percentage in bowl games – his teams are 11-3 – is second-highest in college football history. Meyer set the major college record with 165 wins through his first 15 seasons as a head coach and he is the only coach in major college history to have four different winning streaks of at least 20 games.
The 2018 season is Meyer’s 32nd as a collegiate coach.
Day is in his second year in Columbus after two seasons in the National Football League and 13 additional seasons in the collegiate ranks. The impact he has had on the program in such a short time has been considerable.
The program’s acting head coach for victories this season over Oregon State, Rutgers and No. 15 TCU, Day has since directed one of the nation’s most explosive offenses, led by record-breaking quarterback Dwayne Haskins, a Heisman Trophy finalist. Ohio State ranks second nationally in total offense, No. 2 in passing and No. 8 in scoring heading into its Rose Bowl game against Washington.
“I am truly honored to be here today and am so appreciative to President Drake and Gene Smith for the faith they have in me to lead this team,” Day said. “I love this program and its student-athletes and I want Buckeye Nation to know how hard we are going to work to ensure this program remains the very best in the country.
“I also want to say ‘thank you’ to coach Meyer. His coaching wisdom and his elite ability to motivate and prepare a team is something everyone on this staff not only appreciates, but learns from and carries forward. I am grateful for the two seasons I’ve had as a part of his staff.”
Day’s offense is on pace to set a Big Ten record for yards per game, breaking a mark set 24 years ago by Penn State. In 10 of 13 games this year, Ohio State had 500 yards or more, including 567 against the nation’s top-ranked defense in a 62-39 win against No. 4 Michigan. His unit has already set Ohio State single-season records for passing yards, passing touchdowns, completion percentage and passing efficiency.
Day was Ohio State’s 2018 nominee for the Broyles Award, which goes annually to the top assistant coach in the country.
The 2017 season was Day’s first in Columbus and it also proved to be a success. His starting quarterback, J.T. Barrett, was a finalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Year Award and he was named the Big Ten’s quarterback of the year. Haskins was also named the Big Ten’s quarterback of the year, giving Day back-to-back winners of one of the most prestigious Big Ten awards.
Day’s 13 years of collegiate coaching experience prior to Ohio State included offensive coordinator positions at Temple and Boston College, as well as positions with Florida – as a graduate assistant under Meyer – and at his alma mater, New Hampshire.
Day’s NFL coaching positions included serving as quarterbacks coach in 2016 with the San Francisco 49ers and in 2015 for the Philadelphia Eagles. Both positions were under Chip Kelly.
Day is a 2002 graduate of the University of New Hampshire. The Manchester, N.H., native is married to his high school sweetheart, Christina Spirou. The couple has three children: a son, Ryan Jr., or R.J., and two daughters, Grace and Ourania.