Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, a three-time national champion and future College Football Hall of Famer, announced his retirement at a 2 p.m. ET press conference on Tuesday. Meyer will coach his last game in the Rose Bowl vs. Washington on Jan. 1, 2019, and be .
"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."
New North Carolina coach Mack Brown, who spoke with Meyer this morning,that Meyer's health was a primary concern. Meyer fought through painful headaches and was visibly struggling during games this season, occasionally rubbing his head and bending over. He admitted during the year that a previously-revealed congenital arachnoid cyst on his brain was causing him problems once again -- he previously had surgery on it in 2014 -- but said that he was managing the pain and planned to coach next year.
Meyer's comfort with the future of the Ohio State program and confidence in Day as his successor played into his decision, according to Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel. Day has singed a five-year contract worth $4.5 million per year.
"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."
Meyer went 82-9 in his seven seasons as Ohio State coach, including a 54-4 Big Ten record. He has three national championships on his resume -- one at Ohio State in 2014 and two at Florida in 2006 and 2008 -- to go along with two undefeated seasons (2004 at Utah, 2012 at Ohio State). Since taking over Utah in 2003, Meyer's teams have not missed a bowl game in 13 years in which they were eligible. He has nine conference titles in 14 seasons and has gone 10-3 in bowl competition. His teams are 186-32 overall for a .853 career winning percentage.
17-6 (11-5 MAC)
22-2 (13-1 MWC)
Undefeated in 2004
65-15 (36-12 SEC)
National titles in 2006, 2008
82-9 (54-4 Big Ten)
National title in 2014
Meyer's retirement comes on the heels of a tumultuous year in Columbus, Ohio, in which he was suspended for the first three games of the season after an investigation revealed that he mishandled domestic assault allegations made against former wide receivers coach Zach Smith, who was fired in late June.
Despite the controversy that swirled around him during the 2018 season and previously while coach at Florida, Meyer will go down as one of the best and most influential coaches in college football history.
Meyer led the Buckeyes to an undefeated record in his first season at the helm in 2012, one in which the program was barred from a bowl game due to NCAA sanctions. The Buckeyes missed out on a title game appearance in 2013 when they lost to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game, but they did take home the crown in 2014 in the first year of the College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes returned to the CFP in 2016, losing in the Fiesta Bowl semifinal to Clemson. Meyer led the program to a New Year's Six/BCS bowl in every year in which the Buckeyes were eligible during his tenure in Columbus, Ohio.
His hiring at Florida in 2005 is viewed as one of the most impactful in college football history. When Meyer brought his spread offense from Utah to Gainesville, Florida, it proved to the rest of college football that exotic offenses can be successful when they are combined with the smash mouth style of the SEC. That style was the driving force behind Florida's national championships in 2006 and 2008, Tim Tebow's legendary four-year career that included the 2007 Heisman Trophy, the Gators' rise back to national prominence following the Ron Zook era, and a boom period for the SEC.
Meyer's first national title win at Florida began a run where the SEC won seven straight titles from 2006-12, boosting the conference's value and innovating both the league and college football as a whole. His time with the Gators was not without controversy, however, as the program saw a boom in player arrests and off-field incidents under his watch.
He first retired from Florida in 2009 only to change his mind before the Sugar Bowl and decided to remain with the program on a lighter off-field schedule after a short leave of absence. UF posted its worst mark under Meyer at 8-5 in 2010, and he again chose to retire after the season, citing health concerns. It was later revealed that Meyer was suffering from chest pains as a result of esophageal spasms. He spent one year as a college football analyst for ESPN before taking the Ohio State job citing improved health and life decisions.
A former defensive back at Cincinnati, Meyer's swift rise to coaching prominence prior to Florida was evident in his two years at Utah. He went 22-2 in two years with the Utes, then in the Mountain West, going undefeated in 2004 with a Fiesta Bowl victory over Pittsburgh. The Utes finished No. 4 in the final AP Top 25, and were the fourth undefeated team in program history.
Meyer got his start as a head coach at Bowling Green from 2001-02, where he went 17-6 and 11-5 in the MAC. The Falcons started 8-0 in his second season with the program and scored 38 or more points in each of those contests. Prior to becoming a head coach, Meyer served as an assistant at Notre Dame (1996-2000), Colorado State (1990-95), Illinois State (1988-89) and Ohio State (1986-87), where he learned under mentor Earl Bruce.