Associated Press Incoming Ohio State coach Ryan Day, shown Tuesday at Urban Meyer's news conference, received a five-year deal at $4.5 million a year to lead the program after the Buckeyes play in the Rose Bowl.
Thursday, December 06, 2018 1:00 am
At 39, Day has paid his coaching dues
Buckeyes heir in 17th season on sidelines
MITCH STACY | Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio – When Urban Meyer started thinking about retiring, he realized he already had the ideal successor right there in the building in quarterbacks coach Ryan Day.
So Ohio State bumped up Day's salary to $1 million per year after last season and promoted him to co-offensive coordinator to keep him around while Meyer pondered his future.
Day, 39, who will become the 25th coach in Ohio State history after the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, has never been a full-time head coach – rare at a major program hiring for its top job.
But he's been known in the college football world for years as an up-and-comer, having already turned down a head coaching offer at Mississippi State before being promoted at Ohio State. Later, he said no to the Tennessee Titans, who wanted him as their offensive coordinator, to stay with the Buckeyes.
Meyer, who announced his retirement Tuesday, said Ohio State was fortunate to have kept him.
“I think in trying to build the most comprehensive premier program in America, you also want to hand it off to someone at some point so it can get even stronger,” Meyer said. “And my witnessing of the work Ryan has done made this decision not as difficult as I thought.”
Day's stock rose even more after the spotlight was thrust upon him in August, when he guided the Buckeyes to a 3-0 record during Meyer's suspension for his handling of domestic abuse accusations against now-fired assistant Zach Smith.
Day became a mentor to quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr., who broke single-season passing records this season in leading the 12-1 Buckeyes and will be in New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist.
The Manchester, New Hampshire, native has sizable shoes to fill now. He will take over on the recruiting trail immediately for Meyer, who compiled an 82-9 record in seven years at Ohio State and won a national championship in 2014.
“We all know the tremendous job (Day) did and the challenging time,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said. “He led our program through unbelievable adversity earlier in the year. He offers us terrific, terrific skill and talent.”
Day was quarterbacks coach under Chip Kelly with the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers before joining the Ohio State staff. This was his 17th season overall in the professional and collegiate coaching ranks.
Day first worked for Meyer as a graduate assistant at Florida in 2005. He coached receivers for a year under Al Golden at Temple (2006) and for five seasons at Boston College (2007-11). Day ran the offense and coached receivers at Temple in 2012, and in 2013 and 2014 he was quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Boston College before moving to the pro ranks.
Day agreed to a five-year deal at $4.5 million per year at Ohio State. He said he didn't know yet whether he would retain the other current assistants, but it's been made clear that strength coach Mickey Marotti, a close Meyer friend who deals with players the most during offseason conditioning, will be among the support staff retained.
Major upheaval in the program Meyer helped build is not expected, Day said.
“I think any time there's a change in leadership, there's a different personality, there's a different style involved with it, different demeanor,” Day said. “But we share so much in common that there's going to be a lot that's carried over.”