After the Ohio State Buckeyes football team defeated the Washington Huskies in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, Urban Meyer began his transition from Ohio State coach to Ohio State assistant athletic director.
However, as soon as Meyer announced that he was retiring on Dec. 4, making way for Ryan Day to take over, speculation immediately started about when Meyer would be back on the sidelines. Of course, much of that speculation stemmed from the fact that Meyer resigned from the Florida Gators head coach job in 2010, citing family reasons. And then, following a year off, took the Ohio State head coach role.
In his bold predictions for 2019, ESPN college football writer Mark Schlabach took that speculation a step further, naming USC as the next coaching stop for Meyer:
Perhaps no FBS coach is going to face more pressure this coming season than USC’s Clay Helton, who went 5-7 in 2018 after winning 21 games the previous two seasons combined. Trojans athletic director Lynn Swann has shown patience, but it will run out after a mediocre season in 2019.
Meyer, who said he believes he’ll never coach again, will be the top candidate to replace Helton. Meyer, 54, won more than 90 percent of his games at Ohio State, never lost to rival Michigan and won three Big Ten titles and the 2014 national championship.
Meyer isn’t going to sit around and do nothing, and it’s not like he hasn’t changed his mind about retirement before.
Helton was on the hot seat at the end of this season, but Swann ultimately retained the coach. The Trojans hired former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury, who was fired in November, to be the offensive coordinator. However, Kingsbury left after just a month to take a head coach job in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals.
Another poor season by USC could find Helton unemployed, but would Meyer, who cited health reasons as an impetus for his retirement, come back after one season out of coaching? USC would certainly try to convince him.
“This has always been very personal,” Meyer said after his team’s win in the Rose Bowl. “I’m from the great state of Ohio and I’m very proud of my state. I’ve been a Buckeye fan, like I said, as long as I can remember. And I operated – it’s not healthy all the time – but I operated under the sense of fear. When I would see our former players come around this program, and you know I was in the elevator yesterday with Archie Griffin, a dear friend, and John Cooper is a dear friend, and we lost coach (Earle) Bruce recently and Jim Tressel is a dear friend of mine. And I just felt an obligation to not let them down.”
Asked if he will ever coach again, Meyer said, “I don’t believe that’s going to happen. I don’t believe I want to win again.”
For now, you have to take the (former) coach at his word. But the only thing Meyer will be able to do to fully convince everyone he is never coming back to the sidelines is to stay away from them every season when openings arise.