Urban Meyer is in the headlines this week after Ohio State put the football coach on administrative leave.
The school is investigating what he knew about alleged domestic abuse committed by former assistant coach Zach Smith, who was fired last week.
Here are seven things to know about Meyer:
1. Urban Meyer is thoroughly an Ohioan.
He was born in Toledo and grew up in Ashtabula before receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of Cincinnati.
He worked at Ohio State as a graduate assistant in the 1980s and later was head coach at Bowling Green, giving him a direct connection to four of the state’s five regions.
2. He was once a baseball prospect.
The Atlanta Braves drafted Meyer in the 13th round in 1982, but he never advanced above rookie ball.
The shortstop hit .182 with one home run in 44 games spread across two seasons.
He ultimately gave up America’s Pastime to walk onto the UC football team as a defensive back.
3. He started as a high school coach.
Meyer’s first experience coaching football was as an intern for the St. Xavier Bombers in Cincinnati.
From there, he became a graduate assistant under Earle Bruce at Ohio State.
He was a full-time assistant at Illinois State, Colorado State and Notre Dame before becoming head coach at Bowling Green in 2001.
4. Meyer became a coaching superstar at Florida.
After successful two-year stints at BG and then Utah, Meyer was one of the hottest coaching commodities in America.
He chose to become the coach of the Gators over Notre Dame in 2005 and quickly returned Florida to glory, winning a pair of national championships in six seasons.
That included a throttling of Ohio State in the 2007 BCS National Championship game.
5. He also became infamous at Florida.
Meyer’s Florida teams won a lot of games (66-15) but also made a lot of negative headlines.
Discipline problems were rampant during Meyer’s time in Gainesville, and he was widely criticized for looking the other way too often.
He cited health problems when stepping down after going 8-5 in the 2010 season, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of many Florida fans.
6. Meyer has dominated since taking over at Ohio State.
After a year off working at ESPN, Meyer became Ohio State’s 24th head football coach in November 2011.
He is 73-8 in six seasons in Columbus with two Big Ten championships, a national championship and an undefeated season.
The tenor off the field has been different in Columbus as well.
Developing character has been heavily emphasized since Meyer took over at Ohio State.
His “Real Life Wednesdays” are one example of how he has worked to set his players up for life after football by exposing them to leaders from the business world.
Meyer’s talk of developing the player on and off the field is used both by his defenders, who can argue he cares about more than just winning football games, and his critics, who prefer to paint him as a hypocrite when a player gets into trouble.
7. His future is up in the air.
Many questions must be answered before anyone knows what the next chapter of Meyer’s professional life will look like.
The main ones are what he knew about the behavior of one of his longest-tenured assistants and what the university might do about it once they figure that out.
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