No coach’s wife is more comfortable in the spotlight than Shelley Meyer. (Though Michelle Herman may give Mrs. Meyer a run for her money before too long.) Her Twitter account claims more than 30,000 followers and with more than 32,000 tweets, with a header photo of she and Urban with their three children. That photo happens to be taken on the field on the day of an Ohio State victory at the Big House. Because of course it is.
There are a couple reasons for this. One is that her husband is one of the very best in the sport at his job. An .850 winning percentage and three national titles tends to speak for itself. The other reason is that she’s really good at it. Shelley Meyer isn’t a stranger to Ohio State media, including an appearance on Wednesday’s edition of the Eleven Warriors podcast.
The interview was a wide-ranging one (see below), but meat of it, naturally, came in Shelley explaining life as a coach’s wife. The two were married when Urban was the wide receivers coach at Illinois State in the late ’80s, making figurative and literal pennies. It would’ve been delusional to believe, “Oh, yes, we’ll be at Ohio State one day — and making $6 million a year to coach football.” As Mrs. Ohio State Football explained, there was no master plan, no guidebook to being a coaches’ wife. It just kind of happened.
“I did not know we would move so much, I’ll tell you that. When I knew he wanted to be a coach, I had no idea we would move so many times. And we haven’t even moved nearly as many times as some coaches have. We’ve been very, very blessed,” she said. Meyer has coached at nine schools in his 32-year career.
“As a wife and the kids, you just kind of get into that place where you just roll with it. This is what Dad does. He’s climbing the mountain. I remember explaining that to my kids. Dad’s climbing the mountain, and this is what we do as a family. This is how we roll, this is what we do.
“I’m not going to say it wasn’t challenging moving, because guess who had to pack up the house and the kids, and find a new school, and find a new house, and all that? I did. I’m at a loss for words for how I did that. I just did it. You just do it. Every woman in America who assumes, mostly, the roll of Mom and runner of the house, you just do it. And in coaching you just kind of fall into it and you work with your mentors, who are older wives. I had a lot of really awesome older wives in coaching that mentored me and kind of prepared me for, this is what you do. You need to make all these decisions and you have to do certain things so that your husband can do his job with the football team.”
Shelly also shared some only-she-would-know anecdotes about her life with Urban:
– Shelley had to talk Urban into taking the Utah job, and she didn’t want to leave. Urban went 17-6 in two seasons at Bowling Green, his first head coaching job, but in Shelley’s words he was afraid to leave. Remembering how much she enjoyed her trips to Salt Lake City during Urban’s tenure as Colorado State’s wide receivers coach in the late ’90s, Shelley urged Urban to take the job and would happily remain there today. “I would have stayed there for 20 years, really. If Florida did not come calling, I would have been happy there for 20 years. I love that place.”
– Once upon a time, Urban wanted to be the Michigan head coach. Urban grew up in Toledo — which is sort of the DMZ of the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry — and dreamed of being the head coach at either Notre Dame, Ohio State or, yes, Michigan. “He told me from the very beginning, those three jobs, I’m sorry, you have no say in,” Shelley said. She clarified that Michigan has since been crossed off the list. By both of them.
– Because of that, she wasn’t exactly thrilled when Ohio State called in 2011. “I was very happy with his job at ESPN,” Shelley said. “He was very non-stressed.” Nevertheless, she knew there was no chance Urban would ever turn down the Ohio State job.
– Urban and Shelley will both one day get tattoos of the years of their national championship seasons. The couple originally promised to get matching Fighting Irish tattoos if Notre Dame won a national title while Urban was the school’s wide receivers coach. That didn’t happen, but the pact has survived. Shelley said the Meyers have picked out a design and an artist to create them tattoos with the years 2006, 2008, 2014 and, Shelley hopes, one more future national title year for both of them. “We’re not tat people. Neither of us has a tat,” she said. “So this is big.”
Hear the entire podcast below (beginning at the 22-minute mark) or by clicking here.