Urban Meyer is back — and that means the drama can officially end.
After a brief retirement where he left as head coach of Ohio State in Jan. 2019 under a cloud of controversy, Meyer has spent the last two years as a college football analyst with FOX Sports.
But every time a major college coaching gig became available (or was about too, USC), the first name mentioned and call that went out was always too Meyer. And he always politely declined because little did everyone know, he thoughts of returning to a much bigger stage in mind.
Now we know what Meyer had planned as he was named the new head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday evening.
“I’m ready to coach the Jacksonville Jaguars,” Meyer said of his new position. “Jacksonville has an enthusiastic fan base, and the fans deserve a winning team. With upcoming opportunities in the NFL Draft, and strong support from ownership, the Jaguars are well-positioned to become competitive. I’ve analyzed this decision from every angle. The time is right in Jacksonville, and the time is right for me to return to coaching. I’m excited about the future of this organization and our long term prospect for success.”
Meyer is replacing former head coach Doug Marrone, who went 1-15 this past season and was promptly fired by owner Shad Khan. It's been a hard fall from grace for Marrone in the 4+ years he served as head coach of the franchise.
The Jaguars made one postseason under Marrone, advancing to the AFC championship game in 2017 in his first full season as the leading man. But it was all downhill from there as Jacksonville went 12-36 over the next three seasons, leading to his firing.
But most people in the NFL analyst world figured that Khan let Marrone go knowing he had a bigger card to play — and that proved to be true; Meyer.
"This is a great day for Jacksonville and Jaguars fans everywhere," Khan said in a statement. "Urban Meyer is who we want and need, a leader, winner and champion who demands excellence and produces results. While Urban already enjoys a legacy in the game of football that few will ever match, his passion for the opportunity in front of him here in Jacksonville is powerful and unmistakable."
Meyer, who has never coached in the NFL, is one of the most successful college football coaches of all-time.
He has four stints as head coach, leading Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State throughout his tenure where he went 187-32. He's won three national championships, two with Florida and one with Ohio State, where he last served as head coach going 83-9 in seven seasons.
Everywhere Meyer has been, success has followed. He only spent two years leading the Utes, going 22-2 during that time, but he put them on the national scale when they became the first Group of 5 squad to win a BCS bowl game when they took down No. 19 Pittsburgh 35-7 in the Fiesta Bowl.
He then spurned Notre Dame to head to Florida, where he won two national championships. He retired in 2010, citing "family and health" reasons. But that was short lived as he agreed to come out of retirement and lead Ohio State beginning the 2012 season, where he won a national championship in 2014.
Meyer will inherit a tough turnaround with the Jaguars. But he will have pieces to work with as Jacksonville will have the top pick in the NFL draft, which is expected to be used on Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Rookie running back James Robinson emerged as one of the top players this past season, while wide receivers DJ Chark, Laviska Shenault Jr. and Chris Conley give Lawrence a great starting point. The defense is led by linebacker Myles Jack, defensive end Josh Allen and 2019 first round pick in cornerback CJ Henderson.
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