Meyer hire: An uncloudy day in Columbus
I’m guessing Urban Meyer won’t punch out an opposing player or purposely sit on damaging information during his upcoming tenure as The Ohio State University’s head football coach.
This 2011 calendar year has resulted in some of the most unimaginable revelations, investigations, resignations and terminations in the history of college sports.
At Penn State and Syracuse there are months ahead of potential grand jury testimony, a laundry list of lawsuits and never ending damage control regarding a pair of alleged child abuse scandals which rocked the Nittany Lions’ and Orange football and hoop programs, respectively.
Though OSU, undeniably, lost a measure of integrity over the past 12 months, Meyer’s official Monday hire immediately reverses that trend and strongly suggests last Saturday’s loss at Michigan is a temporary setback.
“I also believe Ohio State contends for the Big Ten title as early as next season,” offered Harrison Central’s Justin Kropka, among hundreds of coaches both locally and nationally speaking out in behalf of Meyer.
“The school and program just regained instant credibility,” Kropka continued. “I don’t think there’s any question Urban Meyer is the guy everyone wanted. In my opinion, it’s a win-win situation in every way.”
Indeed, Meyer seems universally respected among his peers, is recognized as a marvelous recruiter and by all accounts, has a record for running high quality programs for which OSU athletic director Gene Smith should find comforting.
“I’ve been a Buckeyes’ fan ever since I could walk,” Kropka laughed. “If you go into coaching in this state, OSU is probably your dream job. I definitely feel that’s the case for Urban Meyer. He started (here) and now has an opportunity to lead the Buckeyes’ football program. What else could you ask for?”
Though Meyer’s first full day on the job is already under way, it was also announced Monday that Luke Fickell will continue to serve as the team’s head coach though any possible bowl appearance.
In Jacksonville, Gator Bowl officials are hard at work attempting to attract Ohio State and Florida, a pairing which would all but guarantee a sellout for the Jan. 2 game.
Just two years ago, the Gator committee pulled off a similar feat with a Florida State-West Virginia encounter matching Seminoles’ retiring coach Bobby Bowden with the school he formerly guided.
At 6-6 and coming off three straight losses, Buckeye fans might have been expected to forego making postseason reservations. But Meyer’s arrival and the program’s impending resurrection has Scarlet & Gray supporters back on board. A spirited bowl following now seems more than likely.
Though Meyer’s name had been circulating for months, many doom and gloomers continued to forecast a long range recovery period for the program. Which no longer may be applicable.
HOLD off there before declaring no losers following Monday’s announcement.
Today was (and is) about to become one of the shining moments for OSU hoops’ coach Thad Matta whose Buckeyes host Duke tonight in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Matta must have wondered what story could possibly wipe a Buckeyes-Blue Devils’ nationally televised game off page one in the city’s local sports section? He got his answer Monday.
Ohio State will forever be regarded a ‘football’ school – just as Duke is considered a college basketball mecca….
Gibson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org