Timeline: A look at Urban Meyer’s coaching career


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – Urban Meyer, the highly successful coach who won three national championships and sparked controversy this season for his handling of domestic violence allegations against a now-fired assistant at Ohio State, he will retire after the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, the school said Tuesday.

A look around the internet shows how much success Coach Meyer has enjoyed in his career. Here are just a few of the highlights.

Early coaching career

After playing as a defensive back and placeholder for the University of Cincinnati, Meyer spent one season interning as a defensive back coach at Saint Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1985 under the mentorship of legendary St. Xavier head coach Steve Rasso, where he met members of the Ohio State coaching staff. His first collegiate coaching position was a two-year stint as a graduate assistant coaching tight ends at Ohio State under head coach Earle Bruce. He spent the next thirteen years as an assistant—two at Illinois State, six at Colorado State, and five at Notre Dame.

Bowling Green

In 2001, Meyer took his first head coaching job at Bowling Green. In his first season there, he engineered one of the greatest turnarounds in the NCAA football history, going 8–3 and capping off the season with a 56–21 victory over Bowling Green’s rival, the University of Toledo Rockets. He also earned Mid-American Conference coach of the year honors. The next year, Bowling Green finished with a 9–3 record. After a 17–6 overall record, Meyer left for the University of Utah.


After two seasons at Bowling Green, he took the job at Utah in 2003. In his first year there, Meyer was named the Mountain West Conference’s Coach of the Year with a 10–2 record, the best ever for a coach’s first season at Utah. He also earned honors as The Sporting News National Coach of the Year, the first Utes coach to do so.

In 2004, Meyer led the undefeated Utes to a Bowl Championship Series bid, something that had not been done by a team from a non-automatically qualifying BCS conference since the formation of the BCS in 1998


In the wake of his accomplishments at Utah, both the University of Florida and the University of Notre Dame vied for his services. Meyer chose to become Florida’s head coach for the 2005 season, signing a seven-year contract worth $14 million. He later signed a six-year contract extension with the Gators on June 7, 2007; the extended contract paid an average of $3.25 million per year. On August 3, 2009, Meyer received another contract extension that made him the SEC’s highest paid coach during the 2009 season; his 2009 extension was worth $24 million over six years

In 2005, his first season at Florida, Meyer’s Gators team finished the season 9–3 (5–3 in the Southeastern Conference). The season included an undefeated record at home and a bowl victory against Iowa in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida. The Gators would have faced LSU in the SEC Championship Game, but they lost to South Carolina and former Florida head coach Steve Spurrier in the SEC regular season finale.

2006 season

In 2006, Meyer coached the Gators to a 13–1 (8–1 in the SEC) record, with the one loss coming to the Auburn Tigers. After clinching the SEC East, the Gators won the SEC Championship Game on December 2 over Arkansas by a score of 38–28. The Gators defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes, 41–14, in the 2007 BCS National Championship Game to win the national championship. It was the first BCS bowl berth for the Gators since the Orange Bowl that capped off the 2001 campaign, and Florida’s first national championship appearance and victory since winning the 1997 Sugar Bowl.

2007 season

The Gators managed a 9–3 regular season record in 2007, including blowout wins over rivals Tennessee and FSU but once again losing to Auburn. During his tenure at the University of Florida, Coach Meyer never defeated Auburn. Quarterback Tim Tebow also became Coach Meyer’s first Heisman Trophy winner. The team led the conference in scoring, but struggles on defense made it difficult for the Gators to reach a BCS bowl game. The Gators lost the Capital One Bowl to Michigan 41–35 on January 1, 2008. Meyer served as a pre-game and halftime analyst for the 2008 BCS National Championship Game.

2008 season

In 2008, Meyer led the Gators to a 13–1 overall record and the BCS National Championship over Oklahoma, including wins over six ranked teams. The team’s lone defeat came at the hands of Ole Miss on September 27, 2008, a game in which Florida led in time of possession and passing yards, but had three turnovers. Eleven of the Gators’ twelve wins in the 2008 regular season were by 20 points or more. On December 6, 2008, Meyer led the Gators to a 31–20 victory over then top-ranked Alabama in the SEC title game. Leading in time of possession, rushing yards, and passing yards, the Gators rallied from behind after a third quarter deficit to score two touchdowns and hold Alabama scoreless in the fourth quarter. The victory would vault Florida to No. 1 in the Associated Press Poll, No. 2 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, and No. 2 in the BCS rankings, setting up a showdown against Oklahoma in the BCS Championship Game on January 8, 2009, at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Florida. The Gators won 24–14, securing their second national championship under Meyer.

2009 season

In 2009, Meyer’s Gators began the season ranked No. 1 by the largest margin in the history of the AP preseason poll. Though the team struggled on offense at times and quarterback Tim Tebow suffered a frightening concussion in a September victory over Kentucky, Florida finished the regular season 12–0 and still ranked No. 1.

Florida was selected to play the undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats in the 2010 Sugar Bowl. The Gators won 51–24 to finish the season with a 13–1 record for the second consecutive year.

Leave of absence

In the early morning of December 6, 2009, soon after returning home following his team’s loss in the 2009 SEC Championship Game, Meyer was quietly admitted into a Gainesville hospital suffering from chest pains and dehydration. He was released later in the day, and the incident was not announced to the public at the time.

On December 26, after discussions with his family, Meyer revealed his medical scare and announced that he would resign as Florida’s head coach due to health and family concerns following his team’s New Years Day Sugar Bowl appearance. Meyer stated: “I have ignored my health for years, but recent developments have forced me to re-evaluate my priorities of faith and family.” Meyer admitted that he had suffered frequent chest pains, later discovered to be caused by Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and occasional severe headaches due to an arachnoid cyst for years, and that they were related to stress.

On December 27, Meyer announced that he would take an indefinite leave of absence instead of resigning.

On January 1, 2010, Meyer coached the Gators in their 51–24 Sugar Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bearcats.

2010 season

With his victory over Kentucky on September 25, 2010, Meyer achieved his 100th career win as a coach. With that win, his record was at 100–18 over the course of 10 seasons.

Despite reaching this milestone, the season was a difficult one for the Gators, and their 7–5 regular season record was the worst in Meyer’s tenure at Florida. On December 8, 2010, Meyer again announced his retirement from coaching for much the same reasons he mentioned in December 2009: his family and his health.

Meyer’s last game as Florida’s coach was a 37–24 win in the 2011 Outback Bowl on January 1, 2011.

ESPN career

After resigning as the head football coach of the Florida Gators, Meyer worked as a college football commentator and analyst for the American television sports network ESPN.

Ohio State

On November 17, 2011, Eleven Warriors reported that Meyer would become the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Meyer denied the report publicly. On November 28 Meyer and was introduced as head coach of Ohio State. The school said Meyer would receive a six-year contract that pays $4 million annually, plus another $2.4 million total in “retention payments.” 

2012 season

In Meyer’s first year of coaching at Ohio State, he helped lead the Buckeyes to an undefeated 12-0 record and a No. 3 AP Poll ranking. The team was ineligible for all other rankings, as well as postseason play, due to NCAA sanctions. 

2013 season

Meyer’s next year was not as good as the last, but still Ohio State was #12 in the BCS rankings and a 12-2 record.

2014 season

Before the start of the season, Ohio State lost its star quarterback, Braxton Miller, when he sustained a right shoulder injury during a practice. Redshirt freshman quarterback J. T. Barrett stepped in as his replacement and led Ohio State to an 11–1 record though the first 12 games of the season. However, in the final game of the regular season, he sustained a broken ankle and was lost for the remainder of the year. Cardale Jones replaced Barrett at quarterback and guided Ohio State to 59–0 blowout win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Football Championship Game. With the conference championship and the convincing win over Wisconsin, Ohio State moved up to #4 in the College Football Playoff rankings, jumping the two Big 12 teams in playoff contention, Baylor and TCU, qualifying for the inaugural four-team postseason tournament. They played #1 Alabama in the semifinal Sugar Bowl. Despite being nine-point underdogs and trailing by as much as 15 points in the first half, Ohio State came back to win, 42–35. The Buckeyes then faced Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks in the College Football Playoff National Championship. The Buckeyes were again underdogs as the #2-ranked Ducks were favored by seven points. Despite giving up four turnovers, Ohio State beat Oregon, 42–20, with MVP performances from running back Ezekiel Elliott and safety Tyvis Powell. The victory marked the eighth national championship in Ohio State’s history and gave Meyer his third career national title, following his two with Florida.

2018 season

On August 1, 2018, Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave by Ohio State, after reports surfaced that Meyer knew about spousal abuse allegations against assistant coach Zach Smith prior to Smith’s firing the week prior.

After an independent investigative panel reviewed the evidence, the Ohio State Board of Trustees found that Meyer and Ohio State University Athletic Director Gene Smith did not uphold the values of the university. On August 22, the board voted to suspend Meyer for the opening three games of the season for the Buckeyes. He missed the team’s games against Oregon State, Rutgers, and TCU. On December 4, 2018, Urban Meyer was reported to be stepping down as head coach of Ohio State University, following the team’s Rose Bowl Game. It was announced that Ryan Day would take over the head coaching position immediately after the Rose Bowl.

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