Ryan Day Breaks 40-Year Drought With Big Ten Coaching Honor

BruceHooley

Ohio State has been No. 1 numerous times and won two national championships since 1979, so what Ryan Day accomplished in his first season is more rare than either of those lofty accomplishments.

Day received Big Ten coach-of-the-year honors from the media that covers the league on Tuesday night, becoming the first OSU coach since Earle Bruce in 1979 to win the honor.

Day was born in 1979, so it had been 40 years since an Ohio State coach was deemed to have done the best job in the league.

"It means a lot," Day said. "More importantly, it means our players have done an unbelievable job this year. They deserve all the credit. This coaching staff has done an unbelievable job...Any time people receive awards it's because of what the whole organization has done."

John Cooper never won conference coach-of-the-year, despite finishing No. 2 in the nation twice.

Jim Tressel never won it, despite winning the 2002 national championship with a 14-0 record after going 7-5 the year before.

And Urban Meyer never won it, despite winning the 2014 national championship and never winning fewer than 11 games or losing more than two games in any of his seven seasons.

Day did win it, but he didn't win it in consensus fashion. His coaching counterparts voted Minnesota's P.J. Fleck coach-of-the-year for guiding the Gophers to a 10-2 record.

OSU's Chase Young received Big Ten defensive-player-of-the-year and defensive-lineman-of-the-year.

Teammates Malik Harrison, Jeffrey Okudah and Jordan Fuller won first-team all-league honors.

Day enters the Big Ten Championship game Saturday night against Wisconsin with a 15-0 career record at OSU, getting credit for three wins last season when he handled the job during Meyer's university-imposed suspension.

"Last year, he stepped into a program that wasn't his," wide receiver Austin Mack said of Day. "He wasn't able to be himself like he is now. You saw a guy who was in place of coach Meyer and his program. When he took over in the spring, you could see it still had a Coach Meyer feel.

"Eventually it just took off and it was his program. The things he did are a lot different, but still distinct from things Coach Meyer did. It's crazy to see how he's developed in his first year as a coach. He's a great guy, a great coach. I love to be able to play for him."

Big Ten offensive awards and all-league players will be announced on Wednesday.

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