Urban Meyer agreed to become head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday. He leaves the broadcast booth and returns to the sidelines after a two-year absence that followed another health scare.
The 56-year-old Meyer was team owner Shad Khan’s top target. Khan waited nearly a week to get it done. They met last Friday on Khan’s yacht in Miami, again Wednesday and one final time at the team's facility Thursday.
Jacksonville finished a league-worst 1-15 last season and have the top pick in April's NFL draft.
Meyer has never coached in the NFL at any level. In an interview with the Jaguars, Meyer said his first priority is fleshing out the Jaguars' coaching staff.
"It starts with hiring an elite staff, and I'm going to spend so much time on that," Meyer said in a video Friday. "We've had a lot of success in college, and if there's one strength I have, it's surrounding myself with really great coaches and really great coaches, and we'll work on that next."
Meyer won three college national championships, including in 2014 with Ohio State, with a staggering winning percentage of more than 85% at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State. He coached Ohio State from 2012-2018, leading the Buckeyes to three Big Ten titles and going undefeated in seven games against Michigan.
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) January 15, 2021
Meyer stepped down from coaching the Buckeyes in 2018 due to on-going health problems. A cyst in his head has been causing headaches for several years.
During his final season at Ohio State, Meyer was suspended for the first three games of the season for not properly reporting domestic violence allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith. Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith was suspended for mishandling the incident, as well.
Meyer was an analyist for Fox Sports the last two seasons and also served as an assistant athletic director at Ohio State.
Meyer becomes the first Ohio State head coach to continue coaching following his stint in Columbus since Earle Bruce. Bruce went on to coach Northern Iowa, Colorado State and several Arena Football League teams after he was fired in 1987.
"This was not a knee-jerk reaction," Meyer said. "This was something I've been studying for a long time – not just this job, but the NFL in particular."
Paul Brown is the only other Ohio State head coach to continue his career in the NFL. Brown coached the Buckeyes from 1941-43 before leaving to serve in World War II. Following the war, he became the first coach of the Cleveland Browns from 1946-62. He then went on to start the Cincinnati Bengals and also served as the team’s first coach from 1968-75.