Ohio’s favorite son, Urban Meyer, announced today that he is stepping down as the head coach at The Ohio State University.
Meyer, who returned Ohio State’s football program to national prominence, cited health problems as the primary reason.
The coach who won three national football championships, and is 82-9 at in seven seasons at Ohio State, is battling worsening headaches that have seen him, at times during the season, buckle to his knees in pain.
“I started dealing with some issues last year,” Meyer said of his medical problems. “We had conversations back then. It’s not your elbow or your foot.”
He said the decision was sharpened “when recruits started asking me, will you be here in four or five years. I didn’t want to mislead recruits.”
Meyer suffers from an arachnoid cyst.
After years of suffering, he underwent a procedure to treat the issue in 2014, where he had fluid removed to relieve some pressure.
The problem returned in full force this season.
The associated symptoms depend on which part of the brain is being pressured, but physicians say the most common ones are “headaches, nausea, vomiting and gait disturbance.”
Meyer admitted halfway through the season that his health was being closely monitored.
At a news conference in Columbus today, Meyer said his health is now the priority, but insisted he’ll stay in Ohio.
“This is home. This is where I grew up. It isn’t healthy but I came to work every day with fear of letting people like Archie Griffith and the our great state of Ohio down because this is home. I’m a graduate of Ohio State. We have the best fans in the land, and I didn’t want to let them down.”
The Buckeyes were 12-1 this year, winning the Big Ten championship and earning a berth in the Rose Bowl, but the cloud from the controversies earlier in the year hung over the season.
Meyer was suspended for the first three games of the season for mishandling domestic assault allegations lodged against a longtime assistant coach, Zach Smith, then speaking inaccurately about it to the news media.
Gene Smith, the athletic director, emphasized Meyer’s record on the field.
“What Urban has brought to Buckeye Nation by far exceeded expectations,” Smith said. “He is a brilliant leader of men.”
Meyer, 54, will be replaced by Ryan Day, the Buckeyes’ 39-year-old offensive coordinator, after the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.
Day served as interim head coach while Meyer served his suspension, and is already 3-0 as the Buckeyes coach.
Meyer also resigned twice at Florida.
He stepped down in late December 2009, after a brief hospitalization following a loss in the Southeastern Conference title game, only to change his mind a day later make it a leave of absence.
He resigned for good after the next season, and did not coach for a year before assuming his position at Ohio State.
Before Ohio State and Florida, Meyer was the head coach at Utah, where he had an undefeated season, and Bowling Green.
Big name players he has coached include Tim Tebow at Florida, Alex Smith at Utah, and Ezekiel Elliott at Ohio State.
Now, Meyer says his coaching days are officially over, even though he is only 54.
“I believe I will not coach again,” he said. “I hope to stay involved” with the university.
The Buckeyes are ranked No. 6 and bound for a Rose Bowl showdown with Washington.
They barely missed out on the College Football Playoff, despite the Big Ten championship.