Urban Meyer is back at Ohio State, though his duties will likely be stationed in a conference room rather than on the sidelines.
The OSU national champion-turned-disgraced NFL head coach is making a return to Buckeye athletics through the board of "THE Foundation." The non-profit, whose website currently consists of a countdown to launch, announced Meyer's re-arrival on its Twitter account, which describes its mission statement as harboring "the goal of supporting OSU student-athletes using name, image, and likeness to help promote worthy charitable causes."
Meyer isn't the only Ohio State football name heading up THE Foundation's board, as he's joined by former on-field proteges J.T. Barrett (currently of the CFL's Edmonton Elks and the winningest quarterback in OSU history) and Cardale Jones (the organization's co-founder alongside Ohio businessman and real estate president Brian Schottenstein). Sue Zazon (President of Huntington Bank's Central Ohio Region) rounds out the board.
Urban Meyer's new post comes after a brief but eventful NFL journey
Columbus was likely the best venue if there was ever a place for Meyer to regroup after his disastrous foray into the NFL. However, some speculated that he could return to his prior television duties at ESPN or Fox Sports.
Though his time at the helm of the Buckeyes (2012-18) was rife with controversy (capped off by an investigation into whether he was aware of spousal abuse allegations against assistant coach Zach Smith, which led to a three-game suspension at the start of the 2018 season), he amassed an 83-8 record and guided the team to victory in the inaugural College Football Playoff's championship game at the end of the 2014-15 season. He officially departed from the Columbus sideline after the 2018 campaign mentioned above (which saw Ohio State finish 13-1 and top Washington in the Rose Bowl), citing health concerns, echoing similar reasoning for leaving the top job at the University of Florida in 2011.
Such collegiate success did not translate to the NFL. His tenure as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, armed with the aerial services of 2021's top draft pick Trevor Lawrence, was littered with controversies. For example, his coaching staff originally featured Chris Doyle, a strength and conditioning coach previously accused of abusing players at a prior post at Iowa. Meyer was later accused of physically confronting former kicker Josh Lambo. Perhaps most notoriously, the former Buckeye boss went viral for the wrong reasons following a September loss to Cincinnati. A video posted on social media showed Meyer dancing with a woman who was not his wife.
Trapped at 2-11, the Jaguars parted ways with him in December, relegating him to the list of college football coaching legends whose success couldn't carry over to the pros (one that also featured Steve Spurrier, Lou Holtz, and Bobby Petrino). He also became the first NFL head coach fired from his post amid his first season since 1978 (Pete McCulley, San Francisco).
The modern Buckeyes, now coached by Ryan Day, will open their 2022 season on September 3rd in Columbus against Notre Dame.