Jim Harbaugh was never able to get the best of Urban Meyer when Meyer coached at Ohio State, but he clearly doesn’t feel that winning is everything when it comes to running a college football program.
In an appearance on “The TK Show” podcast with Tim Kawakami this week, Harbaugh spoke about everything Meyer was able to accomplish on the field at Ohio State. Meyer’s Buckeyes were 4-0 against Harbaugh and 7-0 overall against Michigan, but the Wolverines coach pointed out that “controversy” seemed to be a common theme with Meyer-led programs.
“Urban Meyer’s had a winning record. Really phenomenal record everywhere he’s been,” Harbaugh said. “But also, controversy follows everywhere he’s been.”
Unfortunately, that doesn’t matter for some people. Harbaugh went on to acknowledge that Michigan has always come up short since he was named head coach back in 2015.
“All you can be judged on is your record. What your record is overall. What your record is within your conference. What your record is with head-to-head matchups,” Harbaugh said, as transcribed by Kevin Harrish of Eleven Warriors. “I think you’ll find Ohio State is the only team with a better record, a better conference record than us (since I’ve been there) and has a better head-to-head matchup with us.”
While some viewed Harbaugh’s remarks as a swipe at Meyer, he was really just stating the obvious. Meyer had numerous players with character concerns during his time as the head coach at Florida, and more than two dozen players were arrested over a six-year span. He recruited and vouched for guys like Aaron Hernandez, who went on to murder multiple people.
More recently, Meyer was accused of ignoring domestic violence allegations against a member of his staff at Ohio State. That almost certainly contributed to his decision to step down following last season.
In terms of running a clean program, Harbaugh — and many other coaches — have Meyer beat. If you’re judging strictly on wins and losses, Meyer is one of the best to ever do it.
Urban Meyer took the opportunity on Friday to watch one of his best known former players compete in a baseball game.
Meyer went to Huntington Park in Columbus to watch Tim Tebow in a minor league game between the Syracuse Mets and Columbus Clippers. The former Ohio State and Florida Gators head coach tweeted photos from the game:
Tebow played for Meyer at Florida from 2006-2009, winning two national championships and going 13-1 three times. After an unsuccessful NFL career, Tebow decided to pursue a professional baseball career in 2016. He’s worked his way up to Triple-A for the Mets, though he has seemed overmatched at the plate this season. The 31-year-old entered Friday batting .131 with a hideous .376 OPS and 34 strikeouts in 26 games.
Batting ninth and playing left field, Tebow went 1-for-4 with a double and run scored against Columbus. Interestingly, Meyer used to be a pro baseball player too. He was a 13th-round pick by the Atlanta Braves in 1982 and spent two seasons in rookie ball before switching professions.
Urban Meyer said he believes he is done with coaching for good after he stepped down at Ohio State, but that does not mean he will be disappearing from the college football landscape going forward.
Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that Meyer has been hired by FOX to serve as an analyst for its new college football pregame show, which does not yet have a name but will air on network TV next season. FOX has also hired former NFL and USC running back Reggie Bush, and he and Meyer will join Matt Leinart and Brady Quinn for the new production.
According to Marchand, FOX is hoping to create serious competition for ESPN’s popular “College GameDay” program by creating the same type of star-studded panel it has with its NFL and MLB pregame shows.
Meyer was part of a major scandal in his last season at Ohio State, but FOX executives apparently do not feel that has negatively impacted his popularity.
Urban Meyer responded on Twitter Thursday to an adorable letter from a 7-year-old fan.
Jack Lucas, a professor in Calgary, tweeted a photo of a letter written by his daughter to Ohio State football. The letter asked what the stickers on the players’ helmets were for and offered congratulations on winning the Rose Bowl. Lucas tagged Ohio State on Twitter and received a response from Urban Meyer. The person running Meyer’s account offered a cute response: “They are stickers and each one means the player did something really good to help the Buckeyes win! Thanks for being a fan, Hannah!! Go Bucks!”
They are stickers and each one means the player did something really good to help the Buckeyes win! Thanks for being a fan, Hannah!! Go Bucks! https://t.co/m9k853afqU
When asked last month if he was sure he would retire, he said he was “fairly certain” he would not coach again. Meyer is still only 54 years old, so he easily should have at least 10 years left as a coach if he still wants to do it. He’s also leaving the door open for a potential return.
Meyer will have an office in the school’s administration building rather than the football building, which is expected to allow Ryan Day to have his space as the program’s new head coach. Athletic director Gene Smith says he will reach out to Meyer if he feels the coach is interfering with Day’s ability to grow into the role.
According to the report, Meyer will help work with Ohio State’s coaches across all sports. He will also do speaking engagements and fundraising for the school.
Meyer announced earlier this month that the Rose Bowl would be his last game as Ohio State’s coach and that Ryan Day would take over thereafter. Despite the announcement, Meyer has not definitively said he is done coaching.
The annual Ohio State-Michigan football game is one of the biggest rivalries in sports, and Urban Meyer this week tried to put into perspective exactly what it has meant to him during his tenure in Columbus.
While discussing his impending retirement in an interview with 10TV, Meyer spoke about the importance of facing the Wolverines, whom he went 7-0 against during his career at Ohio State. Had the Buckeyes not emerged victorious this year, Meyer says he may have stuck around for another season.
“Well, I looked up at the scoreboard when we beat the team up north, and the way we beat them…” Meyer said, as transcribed by Kevin Harrish of Eleven Warriors. “To be honest with you, if we didn’t win that game, I’m not sure I could leave losing that game.”
This looked like the year Jim Harbaugh and Michigan might finally break through to beat Ohio State and earn a spot in the College Football Playoff, but the Buckeyes dominated the Wolverines en route to a 62-39 win. While both teams ended up being left out of the playoff, you can tell how important that win was to Meyer.