OPINION: A retrospective of Urban Meyer

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Dante Centofanti

Urban Frank Meyer III is a dynamic figure in the sport of college football. Everywhere this man has gone he has won, with his latest victory sending him off into retirement, one that he says will be permanent. After previously being the wide receivers coach at Notre Dame, he made his coaching debut in the Mid-American Conference in 2002 as the coach of Bowling Green, leading the Falcons to a 17-6 record in two seasons.  After impressing Athletic Directors across the country with his obsessive attention to detail, Meyer earned a job with Utah. He led the Utes to an undefeated season and Fiesta Bowl win against Pittsburgh, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Coach Meyer has always been one of the hardest working figures not only in College sports but in American sports. His passion for the teams he has coached has been vibrantly shown in any of the games he coached, from Bowling Green and Utah (if and when they were on TV) to his higher-profile tenures at Florida and Ohio State. You can see it in the NFL talent he’s produced.

Alex Smith. Percy Harvin. Ezekiel Elliott. Joey Bosa. And the final crop of future NFL talent he helped produce, Dwayne Haskins and Nick Bosa.

After the Ohio State Rose Bowl victory against the Washington Huskies Urban Meyer was done with college football. After health conditions that would follow him back to his time at the University of Florida, were he won two National Championships, he would focus fully on time with his family.

However, due to his health, Meyer decided that the Buckeyes’ Rose Bowl win over Washington would be the final game he’d coach, retiring a three-time National Champion to focus more on his family.

My feelings were bittersweet as I watched Meyer hoist up the Rose Bowl trophy after defeating the Huskies, the eighth Rose Bowl victory in the history of Ohio State. At first, I was happy to see Meyer at peace with what ended up being a tumultuous career.

He took over a program that was in desperate need for a breath of fresh air following the infamous “Tattoo-gate” scandal under former coach Jim Tressel. Meyer brought the program back to being a national power, finishing his tenure with the Buckeyes going undefeated against Michigan with three Big Ten Championships, two Playoff appearances and a National Championship in 2014. Off the field, Meyer founded a cancer research fund with his wife and OSU Nursing employee Shelly Meyer.

Despite this, I wanted him fired after the infamous press conference where Meyer addressed his three-game suspension handed down by a committee for his handling of the situation surrounding former Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith, who allegedly engaged in numerous instances of domestic abuse against his former wife.

He lied at Big Ten Media Day, which was shown by the reporting of Stadium’s Brett McMurphy. Urban Meyer let someone on his staff who was arrested in 2009 for hitting his pregnant wife.

For me, putting your hands on a woman, let alone a pregnant one who is the mother of your child, is horrible and something I don’t stand for. In Journalism our purpose is to hold people accountable, and while I did think at the time the suspension was fair, Meyer’s attitude towards this whole situation was unprofessional and sloppy. He knew Courtney Smith, and yet didn’t mention her name when addressing the media.

There is a culture in college football of people turning a blind eye towards people doing unacceptable things, and Urban Meyer quite simply should have been fired based on his remarks and attitude in that press conference. So as I look back on Urban Frank Meyer III’s tenure at Ohio State, it is a bittersweet ending. I love Ohio State football with all my heart but having a coach that had allowed members on his staff who hit pregnant women is just wrong. So, I’m sorry Buckeye nation. I realize I might be in the minority here, but that’s going to be the moment I’ll remember most about the 23rd head football coach of THE Ohio State University.

Contact Dante Centofanti at [email protected]