Urban Meyer's competitive streak is one of the most dangerous forces in college football. Dangerous for his opponents because it's driven Meyer to a 128-25 record in a dozen seasons as a head coach, two national championships at Florida and two undefeated seasons elsewhere. It's also a danger to himself because, if left unchecked, that competitive streak nearly drove him out of the game completely before his 50th birthday.
After leaving Florida and spending a year with ESPN, Meyer famously signed a contract with his family before accepting the Ohio State job, pledging that things would be different this time around. Ever the seasoned coach's wife, Shelley Meyer knew that Urban couldn't prove until the Buckeyes suffered their first loss. A marriage doesn't really start until the first fight, and a coaching tenure doesn't start until the first loss.
"That was what I was waiting on this whole time," Shelley Meyer said. "At the end of the first season I looked at him and I said, 'Really? You had to go undefeated the first year? Now what?' I kept saying, 'Okay, I want to see how you handle that first loss.' Because that's what really sends him over the edge, quote, losing. He can't stand losing."
As fate would have it, Urban made his wife wait an extraordinarily long time before his first loss. Two full regular seasons, in fact. And if one loss could ever justifiably send a coach into a funk, the Buckeyes' 34-24 loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten championship was it. A 24-game winning streak up in smoke, along with Ohio State's spot in the BCS National Championship.
How did Urban handle it?
"He was okay. He didn't come home and just stare for 24 hours and roll around in the bed and have to get up at 4:30 the next morning and go back in the office and watch the film. He had different perspective," she continued. "It is a game. I know that's hard for some people to get, but it is a game."
As the First Lady of Ohio State football, Shelley insisted the Meyer family would not wear another team's colors any time soon. "This is the last job. I mean, no matter what people stay on Twitter or message boards. This is the last job," Meyer said. "This is the job."
And that's because Shelley believes her husband is much closer to his last game than his first. "I really honestly don't believe he will coach that long," she said when asked if Urban would coach into his 70's. "It's just too hard. He just goes too hard. Maybe some other guys can do it, but he can not."