Considered one of the hottest coaches in college football right now, Urban Meyer as enjoyed a tremendous amount of success throughout his career. And his five years at Ohio State has been just as impressive.
A native of Toledo, Ohio, Meyer is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, where he played defensive back for the Bearcats. He quickly went into coaching after completing his degree at Cincinnati, working at St. Xavier High School in Ohio. His career at the college level would get underway shortly after.
He was a graduate assistant at Ohio State in 1986 and 1987 before taking on a more inclusive role with Illinois State. After two seasons with the Redbirds, Meyer had stints at Colorado State (1990-1995) and Notre Dame (1996-2000), serving as the wide receivers coach at both stops.
In 2001, Meyer landed his first head coaching job, taking over at Bowling Green. He produced a 17-6 record in two seasons with the Falcons before moving on to Utah for the 2003 season. There, Meyer also stayed two years, posting a 22-2 record. The Utes won the Mountain West Conference both years, and the Utes completed a perfect season in 2004, capped by 35-7 win over Pitt in the Fiesta Bowl.
After successful campaigns at Bowling Green and Utah, Meyer landed his first coaching job in a Power Five conference, taking the reigns at Florida in 2005. While in Gainesville, Meyer won two SEC and BCS titles while accruing a 65-15 record in six seasons. He would also become permanently tied to Gator quarterback great and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow while at Florida.
Meyer resigned as the head coach of Florida in 2010, citing family reasons for his departure. At his resignation press conference Meyer said “At the end of the day, I’m very convinced that you’re going to be judged on how you are as a husband and as a father and not on how many bowl games we won.”
Life away from football didn’t last long for Meyer, though. After spending the 2011 season in the broadcast booth as a college football analyst with ESPN, Meyer headed back home to become the head coach at Ohio State for the 2012 season, signing a seven-year, $40 million deal in November 2011.
Since arriving in Columbus, Meyer has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success, even for his standards.
Though NCAA sanctions banned them from the B1G Championship Game and a postseason bowl appearance, Meyer led the Buckeyes to a perfect 12-0 year, the program’s first since Jim Tressel’s 2002 team went 14-0 en route to a national title. Ohio State knocked off three ranked opponents (Michigan State, Nebraska, Michigan) and won two additional games in overtime (Purdue, Wisconsin). Five of the 12 wins came by seven points or fewer.
Ohio State’s success continued in 2013, finishing the regular season with another unblemished record. Eligible for the postseason this time, the Buckeyes battled Michigan State in the B1G Championship Game, the program’s first appearance. The 10th-ranked Spartans proved to be too tough in Indianapolis and took the conference title by knocking off the scarlet-and-grey 34-24. It was the first loss for Meyer since arriving in Columbus.
The Buckeyes then lost to No. 12 Clemson in the Orange Bowl 40-35 to finish the year 12-2.
Meyer’s third season got off to a bit of a rocky start. After a preseason injury would sideline starting quarterback and reigning B1G Offensive Player of the Year Braxton Miller, Ohio State was forced to start freshman J.T. Barrett for the 2014 campaign. The Buckeyes dropped a home contest to Virginia Tech in the second week of the year, giving Meyer his first regular season loss at Ohio State. It appeared as if the team would go through a bit of a rebuilding phase for the remainder of the year.
But the Buckeyes bounced back nicely, winning the remaining 10 games of the regular season, including another perfect 8-0 mark in conference play, landing Ohio State in its second-straight B1G title appearance. Unlike the previous season, the Buckeyes took advantage.
With the third-string quarterback Cardale Jones at the helm in place of the injured Barrett, Ohio State flexed its muscle and pummeled Wisconsin at Lucas Oil Stadium, winning 59-0. The victory not only clinched the first B1G title for the program under Meyer, it also landed the Buckeyes a bid in the inaugural College Football Playoff.
Ohio State knocked off SEC and national power Alabama in the Sugar Bowl to advance to the national championship game against Oregon. In dominant fashion, the Buckeyes secured the program’s eighth national title with a 42-20 win over the Ducks and finishing the year 14-1.
It wasn’t until 2015 when Meyer lost his first regular season conference game. The Buckeyes dropped a home game to Michigan State, eliminating them from the opportunity to compete for a B1G title for a third-consecutive season. That team settled for a Fiesta Bowl appearance, beating Notre Dame 44-28 to end the season with a 12-1 mark.
The Buckeyes dropped another conference game in 2016, losing to Penn State in Happy Valley. That loss kept Ohio State from a trip Indianapolis, but wins over Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Michigan and an 11-1 record were enough to impress the College Football Playoff selection committee. The Buckeyes earned one of the four spots in the 2016 playoff, making an appearance for the second time in three seasons. The results, however, were far different.
Clemson knocked off Ohio State 31-0 in the Fiesta Bowl, one of the worst losses in Meyer’s career.
Meyer has had a remarkable start at Ohio State. In his first five seasons, the Buckeyes have posted an impressive 61-6 record, with a 39-2 mark in B1G play. He’s won a pair of division titles, a B1G title and a national title. Most importantly, though, is that Meyer is 5-0 against arch-rival Michigan, a team he commonly refers to as “our rival” or “that team up North.”
He’s also been an elite-level recruiter since arriving in Columbus. Five of Meyer’s six recruiting classes have ranked in the top five nationally, according to 247 Sports. The worst class the Buckeyes have had under Meyer came in 2015, when the class was ranked seventh in the country.
As Meyer continues to dominate in all phases of college football, there’s no question he’ll be considered one of the greatest coaches in the history of the sport.
|Year||Team||Record (Conf.)||Conference & National Championships|
|2001||Bowling Green||8-3 (5-3)|
|2002||Bowling Green||9-3 (6-2)|
|2003||Utah||10-2 (6-1||Mountain West Conference Champions|
|2004||Utah||12-0 (7-0)||Mountain West Conference Champions|
|2006||Florida||13-1 (7-1)||SEC Champions, BCS Champions|
|2008||Florida||13-1 (7-1)||SEC Champions, BCS Champions|
|2012||Ohio State||12-0 (8-0)||*Ineligible for postseason|
|2013||Ohio State||12-2 (8-0)|
|2014||Ohio State||14-1 (8-0)||B1G Champions, CFP Champions|
|2015||Ohio State||12-1 (7-1)|
|2016||Ohio State||11-2 (8-1)|
|Overall||165-29||5 Conference Champions, 3 National Championships|