Urban Meyer to Ohio State? The timeline.

By Adam Silverstein
November 20, 2011

Updated Nov. 21 at 1 p.m.

Rumors have been circulating seemingly since the day he stepped down from his post with the Florida Gators that Urban Meyer would return to being a college football head coach sooner than later. When Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel resigned on May 30, it appeared as if Meyer’s next destination was a certainty.

Throughout the last six months, Meyer has spent his time working as a college football analyst for ESPN, doing speaking engagements across the country, making appearances and spending time with his family. He has also – on numerous occasions – denied any specific intent on returning to coaching in 2012 though he has admitted more than once that he does miss carrying a whistle.

Over the last few days, however, the murmurs regarding Meyer’s future and Ohio State’s coaching situation have gotten louder. It appears inevitable to many that he will be donning the scarlet and grey sooner than later.

[EXPAND Click to expand and read the remainder of this post.]

Here’s a look at a timeline of how things have shaken out since Tuesday:

» The New York Times published a story Tuesday noting that Meyer had met with Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne one week ago in Miami, FL to discuss his school’s coaching position. Meyer, according to the story, declined the opportunity but “expressed his desire to return to coaching.”

» Two days later, BuckeyeGrove.com writer Kyle Rowland tweeted the following: “Same plane that came from Gainesville to OSU airport was in Miami when Urban Meyer met with Univ. of Ariz. That meeting took place in Miami.”

» CBS Sports’ NFL insider Mike Freeman then referenced a report he read on Scout.com Thursday, tweeting that “Urban Meyer has agreed to coach OSU for 7 years, $35 million. If true, whoa.”

» After that began to circulate, Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples attempted to set the record straight with a tweet of his own: “Spoke to someone who would know tonight and was told any report of a deal between Urban Meyer and Ohio State is untrue.”

» However, Buckeyes blog Eleven Warriors quickly took to Twitter to divulge what they had uncovered: “We are 99.7% sure Urban Meyer has agreed to a deal to become the next coach of Ohio State. Solid sources. Plural.”

» Shortly after, The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley texted Meyer directly and asked him specifically about the rumor that he had accepted the OSU job. “No truth to it,” Meyer replied via text.

» Meyer’s wife Shelley also made a statement after being contacted by WCJB TV20 and asked if her husband had agreed to coach Ohio State. “No, he did not,” she told the station.

» SPORTSbyBROOKS then posted a full story about the Meyer situation Friday evening, reporting that a “deal between Meyer and Ohio State was consummated in principle earlier this week in Columbus but not signed.”

Brooks goes on to cite specifics of the agreement including a “generous compensation package” and a promise from the school to provide him with the ability to hire the “highest-paid assistant coaching staff in college football history.”

» Saturday morning, Associated Press writer Larry Lage asked Meyer about the deal. He declined comment. He also questioned ESPN analyst Chris Spielman (rumored by Brooks to be a future Meyer assistant) about the situation, and Spielman said there was no deal between Meyer and OSU.

» While doing color commentary for the Michigan-Nebraska game at noon, Meyer addressed the rumors on the air (video): “I know it’s that time of year. I’ve not been offered any job, and I’ve certainly not accepted any job,” he said.

» Minutes later, ESPN.com released its version of Brooks’s story, noting that “Ohio State has been in contact with Urban Meyer about becoming the school’s coach” but “no contract is in place and no announcement likely would be made until after the regular season.”

» UPDATE: Dooley had an extensive conversation with Meyer over the weekend about the rumors that he might return to coaching. Meyer denied reports of interviews with both Arizona and Ohio State but did say he would consider an offer from the latter institution. “I’m in a good place right now mentally and physically. So if something happens with Ohio State, I’ll have a decision to make,” Meyer said. “If there is a decision to be made concerning Ohio State, there will be a lot that will go into it. But right now, there is no decision to be made.”

He also noted that the three reasons he resigned from Florida will have to be taken into consideration before making any move. “The concerns are still there,” Meyer added. “No. 1 – my health. No. 2 – my family. No. 3 – the state of college football. I’ve done some research into the second one. I’ve found that it is possible to have balance between your job and your family, that there are coaches out there who are doing it.”

It is not surprising that Ohio State and Meyer would both want to wait until the end of the 2011 regular season before announcing any type of agreement. Doing so in-season would be disrespectful to both interim head coach Luke Fickell and Meyer’s current employer. That is, of course, unless there truly is nothing to announce, which appears to be less and less likely as things progress regardless of Meyer’s denials.

Photo Credit: ESPN[/EXPAND]

33 Comments

  1. SaraGator says:

    Hey, if you can’t win against us then steal our coach… right??? Oh wait… he’s no longer our coach. Sigh.

    Timing is perfect… His father passed away recently. He wants to be closer to his mom and family.

    If true… he’ll do a terrific job there.

  2. Spik says:

    My only comment- if he coaches again so soon the ‘spend time with family and Heath reasons’ for leaving uf were a crock and I kinda sour in that

  3. Grizz says:

    FWIW, Business Insider is also reporting that it’s a done deal and that an announcement will come following Michigan game.

  4. John S says:

    Well he did great things for us, given our current situation it would sting. I have a feeling his decision to leave had a lot to do with the fact that all of “his” guys had left to take on various coaching positions and that he was finding replacements through a standard interview system. If the year off has given him an opportunity to meet new people and build a staff that way this would make sense. I did expect at least 2 years off though. It would make the Gator Bowl more interesting. At least he’s not going to Tennessee or Georgia.

  5. D R says:

    Im glad for what he did for us, he will always be legendary in my eyes and I wish he were still our coach. I hope where ever he goes he has success (but not against us ha).

    However, it does hurt a bit that he would lie to us about the health problems and such, I can just imagine he and Foley sitting in the office concocting this intricate health story, and it kind of sucks. I mean hell, we went 12-1 and people acted like it was not good enough and Pat Dooley is right when he said that season was not fun, I would want to leave too if I were the coach..

    It sounds stupid, but it feels like a break up. If you dont want to be with us, fine, but at least have the gumption and hutzpah to say so.

    But like John S said up above, at least it is not Georgia or Tennessee!

    • Aligator says:

      We were in a breakup alright, with someone who will never be happy with who they are with long term. Maybe Muschamp will be our long term answer.

  6. G8trpls says:

    In my best Robert DeNiro voice “He’s freakin’ dead to me”

  7. gatormiami says:

    Without Mullen, Urban had half a team…. no offense. Without Strong, he had NOTHING! In the end Urban wasn’t even a good organizer……ADDAZIO!

  8. Gator Boys says:

    This would suck. How can he leave his family twice in 3 years?

    • Gatorgrad79 says:

      ummmm…. 35 million buckeyes, I mean buckaroos. He can buy his own jet and hire a full time pilot to fly overnight to watch his kids, and be back at osu by morning. I think others are correct – he actually thrives on the stress, he freaks at failure, and after losing Mullen and Strong, failure was ineveitable (which makes me question his recruiting and coaching – remember Mullen had to talk him into recruiting Tebow….)

    • HardToKillGator says:

      Sorry, I doubt UM was ever really there for anyone except his team. His whole world revolved around football. It’s the nature of the beast.

  9. Jlbob says:

    If he goes back into coaching this soon, I’ll lose all respect for him. At least I already hate ohio state so cheering when they lose will feel even better.

  10. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Frankly Gator fans, we should be ALOT more concerned about what Muschamp & company are going to do next year!! Meyer can do whatever – free country, but we have paid for first rate coaching, and we are NOT getting our money’s worth. Recruiting for 2012 has HUGE issues, and we have lots more freshman talent that could bail out after the season if things don’t change.

  11. Joe says:

    A coaching staff that includes Chris Spielman Kirk Herbstreit and Stan Drayton won’t scare anybody.

  12. Cline says:

    I blame saban

  13. Jonathan says:

    Most annoying quote of this whole thing:

    “I’ve done some research into the second one. I’ve found that it is possible to have balance between your job and your family, that there are coaches out there who are doing it.”

    Maybe you should’ve “done some research” about balance when you took your leave of absence. For him to quit for all of these noble reasons that we all understood as human beings, and then possibly 1 solitary year later, hop right back in to one of thee biggest pressure cooker coaching jobs in the country, makes him full of sh*@ in my mind. I don’t want to see him coach UF again, mainly because I’m sick of the shotgun dive being our only running play, but to see him coaching again so soon just leaves a sour taste in my mouth. At best this makes him a completely unstable hire…at worst it makes him disingenuous.

    • chigator says:

      I totally agree with everything you said.

      Although I am grateful for all that Urban accomplished here, I wonder where the program would be today if Foley didn’t drive Spurrier away in 2002. Our program is such a mess right now…

    • Ken (CA) says:

      I have to agree with most of what you say, I mentioned that a couple of weeks ago when rumors first started coming out. Meyer has a long record of not telling the truth about making decisions about moving on, there was a website dedicated at one point to all of UM’s “lies” within the week or two before leaving BG for Utah and then Utah for UF. Truly amazing what he could say with a straight face knowing completely the opposite was true at the time. With that history and the rumors circulating now, it sounds like UM to OSU is a done deal, too much smoke for no fire.

      That said I think he did an awesome job at UF and at least he didn’t go to another school in the same friggin division of the same conference as he coached in last time…..

      The big part I agree with is the comment about being disingenuous. That was my biggest disappointment when the rumors started. Worries about family and health and not wanting to coach again until son finished HS and not wanting to move from Gville..etc, etc…. A whole year away from coaching and suddenly everything is OK. No one will ever know the full story but those directly involved, but something just isn’t kosher here with the people involved.

  14. alex says:

    UF football is headed for the dark ages

    It is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

    1) The roster is thin
    2) The players we do have are not very good, simple as that.
    3) More transfers coming (Driskel has one foot out the door)
    4) 2012 recruiting class has a lot of holes
    5) Muschamp is learning on the job; something an athletic program as powerful as ours should not have to deal with

  15. John S says:

    The Dooley conversation makes it seem like a lock. It would hurt a lot less if our team was showing more progress.

  16. Mr2Bits says:

    Glad to see journalism has turned to people tweeting whatever the hell they want with no factual evidence in the hopes that something might be true…….still have not seen anything solid about him going there.

  17. Aligator says:

    This whole Meyer to OSU is sad because now he is saying that family was his number two priority behind his health and that he has done some research and found out you can balance both?!?!? then he goes on to say that
    IF he gets and offer he will have a decision to make?? WTF?!?!? You can have him … why not fire Muschamp and bring Meyer back Foley?!?! exactly he does not want to be here…. I think we know how his wife feels …

    • scooterp says:

      What is it you don’t get???? He had a health scare that was well documented. He was watching his kids turn into adults every time he blinked. He needed some time away from the grind to evaluate and reassess what was important to him. If he figured things out and wants to give it another shot – I don’t see a problem with it. It doesn’t change what he did in the 6 years he was here. Face it – if he is going to OSU, he probably feels like he is going home. It was no secret that he had a clause in his contract with Utah and Bowling Green that if OSU, Michigan or Notre Dame vacancies came available that he could interview. Doesn’t change how I feel about hime. Frankly, some of the statements made here are embarrassing and petty.

  18. bdown15 says:

    I’m suspicious that ole Urb knew the Buckeye job would be comin open when he quit the 1st time–then the story never broke and oops he needed Florida again. Eventually, the emails from tressel were going to get out–so he took his medical/family “break”. Whether or not my thoughts are accurate, Urban duped UF in a major way. First, the roster of mediocrity and then the backhanded manner in which he appears to be acting. Urban had a message for Shane Mattews after Shane criticized him on his radio show–Urban said, “you’re either a Gator or you’re not”. The entire situation makes me sick, I just know no that every November I will gladly say Go Blue! F Urban Meyer and F Thee Ohio State University. Go Gators!

  19. Nick says:

    Someone should ask Elam if he still “knows what faith means”?

    Also is coaches #3 concern, “No. 3 – the state of college football” code for “I ran the team into the ground, leaving the cupboard bare and now I’m getting the he11 out of here”? Didn’t he also leave Utah right after his star QB Alex Smith graduated?

  20. John S says:

    A MSN article is claiming that:

    “The sources said Meyer would bring a number of Florida’s current assistant coaches with him, including Gators linebackers coach D.J. Durkin, who would become defensive coordinator.
    Florida’s strength coach Mickey Marotti was also set to join Ohio State as director of football operations.”

    http://msn.foxsports.com/collegefootball/story/Urban-Meyer-Ohio-State-Buckeyes-contract-report-112211

    That would p!ss me off.

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