(Urban) Meyer was free to sign a six-year deal that pays him around $4.4 million a year, not counting bonuses and incentives. A winner of two national championships during his glittering six-year tenure at Florida, he’ll be expected to bring some luster back to a football program that has been tainted by 12 months of NCAA violations, suspensions and a 6-6 record.
Meyer resigned as Gators coach after last season, citing health concerns and a desire to spend more time with his family.
“A year ago in my mind I was convinced I was done coaching,” the 47-year-old Meyer said.
Now he’s convinced he can balance a healthy life and a high-pressure job.
“I had a health scare a couple of years ago that made me sit back, reflect,” Meyer said of heart and stress problems. “I didn’t feel right. But I feel fantastic now.”
He also yearned to be back on the sideline at the Horseshoe.
“If not for the coaching position at Ohio State, I would not have coached this year,” said Meyer, who grew up in Ashtabula, Ohio, about 200 miles from campus.
Interim coach Luke Fickell, who took over when Jim Tressel was forced out for breaking NCAA rules, will coach the Buckeyes in their bowl game. Meyer will keep him on as an assistant but declined to say in what capacity.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said his first conversation with Meyer about the coaching job was by phone on Nov. 20. The two met face-to-face three days later. Things moved quickly from there.
“We’re blessed to have him as our football coach,” said Smith, who said it was luck that he was able to find a candidate with such a sterling resume.
Meyer spent six years at Florida, winning national titles in 2006 and 2008…
Meyer takes over a program that could face additional NCAA sanctions and was crippled by Tressel’s forced resignation. The Buckeyes completed their only season under Fickell with a 40-34 loss to Michigan on Saturday that snapped a seven-game winning streak against their rivals.
The NCAA threw the whole team under the bus, including the innocent players who had nothing to do with this scandal.
Hopefully, Meyer will bring the team’s performance and morale back up to championship caliper.
- Report: Meyer to coach Ohio State (sportsillustrated.cnn.com)