Ohio State coach Urban Meyer after seven seasons with the Buckeyes, during which he accumulated an 82-9 record and a 54-4 Big Ten record while winning a national championship. He will officially over to offensive coordinator Ryan Day following the Rose Bowl vs. Washington. Ahead of a 2 p.m. ET press conference with Meyer, Day and athletic director Gene Smith, there was one major question looming: would Meyer retire from coaching football for good? After all, Meyer already retired once in 2010 from Florida for what he said were health-related reasons.
When asked if this was "truly it for his football career," Meyer replied, "It's a complicated question" before eventually adding, "God has a plan. I'm not quite sure what that is" but that he hoped "to stay involved."
While that would seem to leave the door open for Meyer's return to coaching at some point down the road, he later sounded more definitive about his future. When asked if he believed he would not coach again, Meyer responded, "I believe I will not coach again." Asked in a follow up if he was certain, the coach replied, "Fairly certain, yes."
Meyer's health concerns have been well-documented, and were once again the primary factor in his decision to step aside this time. He suffers from painful headaches, and on multiple occasions this year was seen visibly struggling during games, occasionally rubbing his head and bending over. He previously admitted during this season that a congenital arachnoid cyst on his brain was causing him problems -- he previously had surgery on it in 2014 -- but said that he was managing the pain and planned to coach next year even though he initially considered stepping down last season following the Penn State victory due to a flare-up of his headaches. Obviously, those plans changed.
"The style of coaching that I've done for 33 years is very intense, very demanding," Meyer said. "You can ask our former players of the expectations and the way I've been. I've tried to delegate more, CEO-ish more, and the product started to fail. The challenge was can I continue to do that in that style?"
Meyer also confirmed that, while his health was the primary reason behind his retirement, that the Zach Smith scandal from over the summer played a role in his "cumulative" decision. When asked if his three-game suspension to start the season as a result of the scandal would make a difference in his legacy, Meyer replied, "I'm sure it will. I haven't really thought that through. That was a disappointing time, obviously."
Meyer ends his tenure with 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.