Earlier this week, Ohio State held a press conference to announce Urban Meyer’s retirement following the team’s game against Washington in the Rose Bowl. Meyer’s departure coincides with the rise of offensive coordinator Ryan Day, who will take over for Meyer for the 2019 season.
Day served as the team’s acting head coach when Meyer served his three-game suspension earlier this season and led the team to a 3-0 record in those games.
But was he athletic director Gene Smith’s first choice? According to an interview with Eleven Warriors, Smith compared Ryan Day against three other coaches.
“I had a bigger list, but it came down to three that I was comparing (Day) against,” Day said in the interview. Two were college coaches, while one was an NFL coach – plus a fourth that Smith considered, but is out of coaching.
So, who were the three (four) coaches?
This is purely speculation, but it makes sense for Smith to think about these three, plus one retired:
- Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel
- Iowa State coach Matt Campbell
- Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell
- Retired head coach Bob Stoops
Vrabel coached under Urban Meyer. Sure, he’s at the NFL level right now, but it couldn’t hurt for Smith to reach out to an experienced head coach.
Matt Campbell was rumored as a potential replacement for Urban Meyer earlier this season and has shown he’s a top coaching candidate during his time with the Cyclones.
Luke Fickell served as Ohio State’s interim head coach before the school hired Urban Meyer. After a successful stint at Cincinnati a call from Smith should be expected – assuming there was an opening.
Bob Stoops, although out of coaching, was also rumored for the Ohio State job should Meyer move on.
Gene Smith decided Day was the better candidate and a safer hire at the end of the day.