A look back at Urban Meyer’s roller-coaster career shows why people have no idea what he will do next

Longtime Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer will coach his final game for the Buckeyes at the Rose Bowl New Year's Day.

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Longtime Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer will coach his final game for the Buckeyes at the Rose Bowl New Year’s Day.
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Scott Halleran/Getty Images

  • Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer will retire at the end of the season.
  • Meyer won three Big Ten titles and the 2014 National Championship in his seven years at Ohio State, but his final season in Columbus was marred by controversy.
  • Many speculated that the domestic violence scandal from the start of the season, combined with his ongoing health problems, could drive Meyer out of the Buckeye State.
  • Meyer has not indicated what he will do next, and his long and tumultuous career may not provide a clear answer.
  • Let’s take a look back at Meyer’s roller-coaster past and what he may choose to do in the future.

Urban Meyer will coach his final game for the Ohio State Buckeyes when they take on the Washington Huskies in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Meyer won three Big Ten titles and the 2014 National Championship in his seven years at Ohio State, but his final season in Columbus was marred by controversy. He was widely criticized for mishandling domestic violence allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith and was subsequently suspended for three games to start the 2018 season.

Many speculated that Meyer’s ongoing health problems, combined with the scandal, could drive Meyer out of the program.

According to Pete Thamel of CBS Sports, the decision was driven by “a myriad of factors,” but that “foremost among them was his happiness with the state of the Ohio State program.”

Meyer has yet to indicate what he will do next, and his nonlinear path to Ohio State doesn’t provide a clear answer. Let’s take a look back at his roller-coaster past and what he may choose to do in the next stage of his career.


Urban Meyer has earned a reputation as a giant of college football, but he hasn’t always been a household name.

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Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Meyer started his head coaching career at Bowling Green in 2001.

He spent 15 years prior in assistant coaching positions with various programs, including Ohio State, Illinois State, Colorado State, and Notre Dame.

Source: Cleveland.com


After coaching the Falcons to 17-6 overall record in his two years at the helm, Meyer left Bowling Green for Utah.

He coached the Utes to a 10-2 record in his first season at the helm to earn Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year honors.

Source: Cleveland.com


In December of 2004, Meyer signed a seven year, $14 million contract to become the head coach of the Florida Gators.

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Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Notre Dame had also vied for his services, but despite once calling coaching the Fighting Irish his “dream job,” Meyer chose to go to Gainesville.

Source: Cleveland.com, Bleacher Report


The Gators finished 9-3 and went undefeated at “The Swamp” in Meyer’s first year at the helm.

Source: Cleveland.com


The following season, Florida went 13-1 on the year and finished the season with a 41-14 romp of Ohio State in the BCS National Championship Game.

Meyer subsequently earned a contract extension worth $3.25 million per season through 2012.

Source: Cleveland.com


Meyer signed another contract extension in 2008 — this time for $4.01 million per year through 2014 — before leading the Gators to their second national championship in three years.

Florida defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 24-14 in the BCS National Championship game.

Source: Cleveland.com


Meyer had a health scare in December of 2009 and announced his intentions to resign following the end of the season. He later decided to take a leave of absence instead.

Meyer resumed full-time coaching duties in March of 2010 but decided to retire after the conclusion of the 2010 season.

Source: Cleveland.com


Although Meyer boasted an impressive 65-15 record in his six years at Florida, he received harsh criticism because at least 31 of his players were arrested during his tenure.

Source: New York Times


Meyer said he wanted to spend more time with his family. He subsequently signed on with ESPN to call one college football game each week.

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Marc Serota/Getty Images

He was also named a studio analyst.

Source: Cleveland.com


Less than a year after joining ESPN, Meyer was hired as head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes.

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His contract guaranteed him at least $4 million annually.

Source: ESPN, ESPN


In his first season as head coach in Columbus, Meyer led Ohio State to a perfect 12-0 record, but the team was ineligible to compete in the postseason due to past NCAA violations.

Source: ESPN


Meyer won his third national title in 2014 after the Buckeyes took down top-ranked Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and Marcus Mariota and the No. 2 Oregon Ducks in the national championship game.

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Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Ohio State’s third-string quarterback Cardale Jones led the Buckeyes through the postseason after starter Braxton Miller hurt his shoulder during the preseason and second-stringer J.T. Barrett broke his ankle during the final regular-season contest.


Ohio State went on to win two more Big Ten championships and make another appearance in the College Football Playoff over the next four years.

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Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

But before the start of the 2018 season, Meyer faced controversy and was subsequently suspended for three games over his mishandling of domestic violence allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith.

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Will Newton/Getty Images

Read more: Urban Meyer suspended for mishandling of Zach Smith domestic violence allegations


The Buckeyes salvaged the rocky season with a 62-39 romp of arch-rival Michigan.

Still, Ohio State missed out on the College Football Playoff, finishing sixth in the final ranking.

Source: NCAA.com


A week after winning his third Big Ten Championship at Ohio State, Meyer announced his decision to retire.

Meyer said “a myriad of factors” contributed to his decision, per Pete Thamel of CBS Sports.

Read More: Urban Meyer is retiring as coach at Ohio State


Speculation has already begun regarding what Meyer will do next in his career. He was asked if his football career was over. He called it “a complicated question.”


Many have argued that Meyer could revisit broadcasting or entertain taking an NFL coaching job.

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Joe Robbins/Getty Images


Others believe he could end up with another college program, such as USC.

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Joe Robbins/Getty Images

But no future landing spot has gained more traction than Notre Dame, a move that has been rumored ever since Meyer referred to a head coaching position there as his “dream job.”

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Marc Serota/Getty Images

Source: Orlando Sentinel


Fans will have to wait to see what Meyer does next, but will surely pay close attention to the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, as the Buckeyes take on the Washington Huskies for Meyer’s final game donning red and white.

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Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Now check out where Urban Meyer ranked this season when it comes to college football coaching salaries.

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Kevin C. Cox/Getty

The 25 highest-paid college football coaches