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Ohio State names Urban Meyer as head coach

Urban Meyer, center, enters the room before addressing

Urban Meyer, center, enters the room before addressing members of the media. (Nov. 28, 2011) Credit: AP

Urban Meyer was officially introduced as Ohio State’s next head coach during a late Monday afternoon press conference in Columbus.

Meyer, 47, won two national championships at Florida. Meyer is 104-23 in 10 seasons at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida. He will be expected to win big at Ohio State and have the Buckeyes in the national title race each season.

“The SEC is hot right now,” Meyer said in terms of the SEC’s current state of recruiting and winning. “But so is Ohio State.”

The Associated Press is reporting that Meyer’s contract is 6 years and $24 million with bonuses.

“Coach Meyer is known for a lot of things,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith when introducing Meyer to the media. “He's a great football coach but more importantly he's an outstanding person."

Smith added, “We were looking for integrity and outstanding leadership.”

Smith said he first spoke with Meyer about the job on Nov. 20. Smith said Meyer was offered the job on Sunday and accepted it on Monday morning.

Meyer was born in Toledo, Ohio, and was an assistant coach under Earle Bruce from 1986-87.

Meyer took a brief leave of absence from coaching the Gators in December 2009, citing health and family issues as the reasons. He coached Florida to a win over Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl. He returned to coaching the Gators in March 2010. But he announced his retirement from coaching last December, again citing health issues and wanting to spend more time with his family. Meyer coached the Gators in last January’s Outback Bowl, beating Penn State 37-24.

When answering a question about his health, Meyer said his feels great.

“I feel fantastic now,” Meyer said.

Meyer said he thought he was done as a coach after the Outback Bowl. Meyer said if it wasn’t for the Ohio State job he would not be coaching next season.

“A year ago, I was convinced I was done coaching,” Meyer said.

Meyer also said, “Absolutely zero thought of coaching Ohio State [a year ago] … I didn’t realize I’d miss it this bad.”

Ohio State could still face NCAA sanctions due to the tattoo/memorabilia scandal. The Buckeyes are 6-6 this season under interim head coach Luke Fickell. The Buckeyes lost to archrival Michigan 40-34 on Saturday.

Meyer, who said Fickell will be a member of his coaching staff, acknowledged that the Michigan game is 362 days ago. Meyer clearly understands the rivalry.

“That's the game of games,” Meyer said about playing Michigan.

In terms of possible sanctions for Ohio State, Meyer said he feels very confident and has a “great trust” that Ohio State won’t have to deal with any serious sanctions.

“I don’t think Ohio State is broke,” Meyer said when asked about the harm the NCAA investigation did to the Ohio State program.

Smith said Fickell will coach the Buckeye in the bowl game. Smith added that Meyer will concentrate on putting together his staff and focusing on recruiting. Meyer said during his press conference that he will try to assemble the best coaching staff in college football.

“This is the right time for Urban Meyer to lead our football program,” Smith said.

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