Urban Meyer return unlikely according to Ohio State AD Gene Smith - News Coverage

Urban Meyer return unlikely according to Ohio State AD Gene Smith

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Since virtually the moment Urban Meyer stepped away from the Ohio State coaching position last December, speculation has swirled about when he would return – and where. Will Meyer coach again?

“I have a hard time believing that,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said – but he adds: “Is it possible? You can never say never. He’s still young.”

Meyer turns 55 in July. But Smith added that most conjecture – Meyer to USC, for example, if things don’t go well and Clay Helton is ousted – glosses over Meyer’s health.

“People disregard the health issue,” he said. “I’d ask that you keep that in mind.”

The 2018 season was marked by tumult off the field. Meyer was suspended during the preseason and for the Buckeyes’ first three games for his handling of allegations of domestic abuse by an assistant coach. Last November, Meyer revealed a cyst on his brain was causing extremely pain and was activated or aggravated by stress. During a close win last November against Maryland, TV cameras caught him in apparent agony on the sidelines, hands clasped to his head and at times kneeling. 

“Right now he has no headaches. None. Zip,” Smith said. “I quite don’t know what that means (because) I don’t have it. None of us are dealing with that. So my assumption is he’s reaching a comfort level.”

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Meyer is set to work next fall as a studio analyst for Fox in Los Angeles. He’ll work alongside former Southern California stars Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart – which led to an awkward situation last week, when Bush told the Los Angeles Times he and Leinart would “definitely be recruiting” Meyer to USC.

Bush was apparently joking. But it both illustrated Helton’s very tenuous status at one of college football’s premier programs and highlighted the lack of clarity about Meyer’s future (as well as the prime seat he’ll have to watch the USC season unfold).

“I believe I’m done, but I’ve also learned to just live in the moment,” Meyer told the L.A. Times. “I love what I’m doing, and I hope I do this for a long time.”

The TV work is essentially a side gig. Meyer is now an assistant athletic director at Ohio State, where he taught a class and is tasked with donor relations. 

“He’s great with donors, because now he can tell his stories unencumbered,” Smith said. “… He doesn’t have to worry about tomorrow because he doesn’t have to call fourth-and-1.”

Smith said Meyer also been meeting on Monday nights with team captains from sports other than football.

“He’s figured out there’s something besides football there (at Ohio State),” Smith said.

But Meyer stepped away from football once before, citing health issues. He left Florida after six seasons. After a year doing TV work, he took over the Buckeyes’ program; in seven seasons Ohio State won 83 of 92 games, including a national championship.

“I think he’s still trying to figure out, find his ultimate purpose,” Smith said. “He’s keeping busy doing a lot of things. (There’s) value to what he’s doing, but he’s the type of guy I think has to say, ‘This is my impact.’ I think he’s trying to figure that out.”

 

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