In addition to winning nearly every game he coached, Urban Meyer will be remembered for two things: giving second and third chances to talented players and coaches to the detriment of everyone involved, and speaking in hyperbole.
Simply put, if you weren’t the one of the best assistant coaches/place kickers/janitors Urban had ever been around, he was probably thinking about getting rid of you.
That vocal tic was a window into Urban’s soul. He was a guy who spent his entire life driving to be the best coach in college football and in the process surrounded himself people who were the best in what they did. That drive to succeed at all costs is what forced him to step aside at Florida after the 2010 season and it’s what let to Tuesday morning’s announcement that Meyer is retiring from coaching at age 54 with an 82-9 record in seven seasons at Ohio State and two straight Big Ten championships.
As Cris Carter explains below on FS1’s First Things First, Meyer was forced to step down due to health reasons. Meyer detailed throughout this season how he’s been dealing with crippling headaches, which are symptoms of a brain condition he had surgery to help fix in 2014 and which are triggered by stress.
“I thought something else was going to happen on the sideline before we were able to get to this day. He really can’t coach, he shouldn’t be coaching, and I would argue he shouldn’t have been coaching the last month,” Carter said. Meyer was Carter’s position coach at Ohio State in the mid-90s before Carter went on to become a Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver and later to build a career as a television talking head.
“I was worried I was going to have to speak at my friend’s funeral,” Carter said.
But Meyer also said something interesting to Carter that may be more of Urban’s typical prisoner-of-the-moment hyperbole…. or it may not be.
“Urban thinks he’s the best offensive coordinator he’s ever had,” Carter said. “He’s got three of four guys out there, Dan Mullen, Tom Herman. These guys are running Florida, Texas. He said Ryan Day is even better than them, and you can see the way he runs his offense, it’s definitely far more creative.”
Mullen helped Meyer to win national championships at Florida in 2006 and ’08 before taking over as head coach at Mississippi State and later Florida. Herman was Meyer’s offensive coordinator at Ohio State in 2014 before becoming the head coach at Houston and now Texas.
Mullen went 69-46 with eight bowl trips in nine seasons at Mississippi State and is now 9-3 with a New Year’s Six bowl trip in his first season at Florida. Herman led Houston to an American championship and a No. 8 final ranking in his first season as a head coach and led Texas to an appearance in the Big 12 Championship in his second season at Texas.
All three men were great offensive coordinators who helped Meyer to a tremendous amount of success. Mullen and Herman have proven to be capable head coaches. Day will now have his chance to do the same.
"He wants to coach, but physically he can’t. He can’t do this anymore. Urban Meyer is a good man, and he’s had a tremendous impact on young people."@criscarter80 on his former WR coach & friend to step down at Ohio State pic.twitter.com/hlqO0eVU9j
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) December 4, 2018
The good thing about this bit of typical Urban Meyer hyperbole is that we’ll get to find out once and for all soon enough.