Urban Meyer is retiring, but is this really the last we’ll see of the Hall of Fame coach and who could coax him out of retirement?
“I believe I will not coach again,” Urban Meyer said during a Tuesday press conference announcing his retirement.
Meyer, 54, might believe that today, but I don’t buy it for a second. This is the third time Meyer has taken a leave of absence, resigned or retired since 2009. Just as he did the first two times, I believe Meyer will return to coaching once his health allows him to return.
He retired due to health concerns stemming from an arachnoid cyst on his brain he’s dealt with his entire life. The cyst has left him with painful headaches brought on by stress.
Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith said Meyer will move into a new role at Ohio State where he will guide all coaches to maximize their results. I think that’ll be a temporary job until Meyer’s health allows him to return to coaching in the next couple of years.
Meyer’s on-field coaching record (three national championships) is only surpassed by Nick Saban among his contemporaries. The big question is which programs would be willing to take on his baggage. I expect there will be a long line of potential suitors for Meyer who would be more than willing to take that on with the promise of winning national titles.
Operating under the belief Meyer will return to coaching in the next few years, these are some of the teams that would roll out the red carpet for him. I don’t think Meyer’s style is ideally suited for an NFL job, so his options are limited to premiere college programs.
Florida State – Willie Taggart just finished his first season at Florida State that resulted in the end of the Seminoles’ 36-year bowl streak. If Florida State is mired in mediocrity for the next two years, they could pull the plug on Taggart and chase Meyer to see if he’d be interested in returning to the Sunshine State. He would be able to recruit the best athletes from one of the more talent-rich states and bring FSU back to competing with Clemson for ACC supremacy and playoff berths.
Miami – For the same reasons Meyer would make a lot of sense at Florida State because of the recruiting benefits and path to the playoff, Miami could be a perfect post-retirement home. Mark Richt will be 59 next season and isn’t on the hot seat, but if the program stalls out in the next two years, Richt could choose to retire, opening up a spot for Meyer to swoop in. Much like Florida State, they won’t care about Meyer’s baggage. They just want to win big.
USC – The Trojans retained Clay Helton after a 5-7 season but made sweeping changes to his staff with an effort of radically different results next year. If the changes don’t work, USC could be making a change. It’s not a natural fit, but this would represent the type of marquee program that could entice Meyer to move out west. This is a longshot option though.
Notre Dame – Meyer was Notre Dame’s wide receivers coach from 1996-2000 on Bob Davie’s staff before he left for his first head coaching gig at Bowling Green. In addition to Ohio State, this has long been viewed as his dream job. Notre Dame is in the playoff and Brian Kelly certainly isn’t in danger of losing his job but has been linked to the NFL in the past. If Kelly gets the itch to pursue the NFL in the next two years, Notre Dame’s first call should be to Meyer.
If doctors give him the clearance to return to coaching at the style he has to in order to get the necessary results, it’s only a matter of time until Meyer is patrolling the sidelines again for a premier program in college football.
Have we seen the last of Meyer? Don’t bet on it.