Ryan Day: Elite coach embraces challenge leading elite program
Elite. The word was used no fewer than nine times in a press conference to describe The Ohio State University’s football team on Tuesday.
Elite described the program as a whole, academics at Ohio State, the football culture and coaching. It was also how head coach Urban Meyer described coach-in-waiting Ryan Day when the university announced Day would take over as the 25th head coach in team history.
“I hired Ryan Day because I thought he was a very good coach. I knew he was,” Meyer said. “What I found out was that he’s far past those thoughts. He’s elite.”
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. He said leading the Buckeyes is the fulfillment of a dream he had growing up in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Day recalled growing up watching the Buckeyes play on TV and “watching them play The Team Up North,” he said. “I remember being on my grandfather’s couch and watching the game and just the respect I had for this place, and it was always a dream of mine.”
Day’s career has taken him from a record-setting quarterback at the University of New Hampshire to the coaching ranks of the National Football League to the top of college football.
He had more than a dozen years of collegiate coaching experience before joining Ohio State two years ago, including offensive coordinator positions at Temple and Boston College. Day also worked as quarterbacks coach in 2016 with the San Francisco 49ers and in 2015 for the Philadelphia Eagles.
He spoke about what he expects when he takes charge at Ohio State.
“On the field you can expect a team that’s going to be tough, that’s going to have great energy, and will be creative,” Day said. “On offense, we continue to force defenses to cover the entire field this year as we went from J.T. Barrett to Dwayne Haskins at quarterback this season, which took on a very different attack.”
Day said he wants an aggressive defense and special teams to work as the “tip of the spear of the program.”
Ohio State Senior Vice President and Director of Athletics Gene Smith said Day has the character traits needed to lead a program like Ohio State.
“He has confidence, passion. He has the perfect demeanor for our environment. He shares the values that we hold so dear: integrity, education, excellence, people-first, respect and tradition,” Smith said. “He’s a good human being, good family man and we’re blessed to have him as our next head football coach.”
Day said those core values were something he and Meyer both hold.
“I think Coach Meyer and I’s values and morals and what our beliefs are, we share a lot of the same things in common,” he said. “I think anytime there’s a change in leadership, there’s a different personality, there’s a different style involved with it, different demeanor. But we share so much in common that there’s going to be a lot that’s carried over.”
He said he is well aware of the work ahead of him and the elite standards he will need to uphold.
“Every coach whoever put a whistle around their neck strives to be the head coach at The Ohio State University,” he said. “I fully understand the challenges that await for me. And being on the same list as Paul Brown, Woody Hayes, Earle Bruce, John Cooper, Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer, it’s extremely humbling, but I’m prepared and ready for the task.”