When he retired from coaching (twice) while at Florida, health concerns were cited as part of the reasoning behind Urban Meyer‘s departure. Fast-forward nearly a decade, and health issues are again being cited as the Ohio State head coach has again announced his retirement.
For years, Meyer has dealt with an arachnoid cyst that puts pressure on the coach’s brain and sometimes causes the kind of headaches that dropped him to one knee on the sidelines during the Indiana game earlier this season. At a Tuesday afternoon press conference that discussed his impending departure after this year’s Rose Bowl, Meyer pointed to the headaches as the primary impetus for his decision.
Specifically, Meyer mentioned a significant flare-up during last year’s Penn State game that led to he and medical personnel discussing his longevity in the profession. The issue worsened this season, although Meyer claimed that the off-field issues and suspension didn’t play a significant role in his health worsening even as he said “the decision was the result of cumulative events,” including the Zach Smith situation that Meyer acknowledged will likely impact his legacy.
According to Meyer, he didn’t make an absolutely final decision to step down until Tuesday morning, shortly before Ohio State sent out a press release announcing the decision. Serious contemplation began shortly after the win over Michigan this past Saturday, Meyer stated, adding that, when potential recruits started asking if he would be the head coach for four or five years, it added to the urgency to make a decision as he didn’t want to mislead the prospects.
The head coach did allow, though, that he and athletic director Gene Smith began discussing a succession plan earlier this season. Ultimately, the decision was made that offensive coordinator Ryan Day would take over for Meyer, whenever that may have been, although Smith acknowledged considering a national search before deciding the 39-year-old coordinator was the best man for the job moving forward.
According to Smith, he was fairly certain Monday that Meyer would step down at the end of the season. Tuesday morning, Smith met with Meyer and gave him the opportunity to “pull the plug” on retiring; Meyer opted to follow through with what they had previously discussed and confirmed he would indeed retire.
Smith also confirmed that Meyer will stay on in some capacity within the OSU athletic department, although specifics have not yet been divulged.
Arguably the most noteworthy moment of the press conference, though, came when Meyer was asked if he’s finished coaching.
“That’s a complicated question,” Meyer said, although he later added, when asked if he believes he will not coach again, “I believe I will not coach again.” Even that last assertion, though, came with a qualifier that certainly leaves the door open.