How Ohio State transitioned from Urban Meyer to Ryan Day era without decline

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Urban Meyer’s exit from Ohio State was an ugly chapter for the program, but the Buckeyes’ coaching transition to Ryan Day has been surprisingly seamless.

If anything, Ohio State’s grip on the Big Ten has tightened over the past two years, with Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State struggling and Wisconsin treading water. It helped that Day was part of Meyer’s staff, learning from him as offensive coordinator. But Day’s own player management skills have been exemplary as well.

“He’s an incredible game planner and play caller,” Meyer said in 2019 of his successor. “He’s very like-minded (to me) in the way the program is run. … But he’s also being himself, killing it in recruiting, doing an excellent job.”

MORE: Urban Meyer NFL coaching fits

Ohio State is 23-1 under Day and will play for the College Football Playoff championship against Alabama on Monday after beating Clemson in the semifinals.

It also has the second-ranked recruiting class for 2021, according to 247Sports’ Composite rankings.

Here’s how Day got to this position:

Ryan Day’s coaching influences

Before arriving at Ohio State, Day held staff positions on several pro and college teams. Even his primary NFL boss was well-versed in the NCAA landscape, meaning he had a continuous line of training before Columbus.

In 2015, he worked for the Philadelphia Eagles under Chip Kelly, the onetime star Oregon coach who has since had his reputation diminished by underwhelming stints with the San Francisco 49ers and UCLA. Kelly took Day under his wing (that’s a duck pun, folks) and hired him to work for the 49ers in 2016. Day oversaw quarterbacks both years with Kelly.

Day also spent time working at Boston College and Temple.

Ryan Day’s head coach experience

Day coached three games for Ohio State in 2018, filling in for Meyer when he was suspended for his conduct regarding former assistant Zach Smith. Day won all three of those games, including one over No. 15 TCU, by a combined score of 169-62.

When did Urban Meyer retire?

Meyer announced he would step down as coach at Ohio State after the 2018 season. He cited health issues — stress-related brain ailments have been a longstanding issue — and implied the toll of the Zach Smith controversy and his ensuing suspension contributed to his decision.

“I believe I will not coach again,” Meyer told reporters at the time.

There is speculation, however, that Meyer will return to the sideline soon — possibly as the leader of an NFL team.

Ryan Day salary

Day earned $5.4 million this past season. His salary will increase to $6.5 million in 2021 and $7.6 million in 2022.



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