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COLUMBUS, Ohio Urban Meyer is back on familiar turf, fit and rarin' to go as Ohio State's new football coach.
Without question, he'd like to add to the national titles and success he had at Florida only this time with a better ending: No burnout.
Meyer resigned as Gators coach after last season, citing health concerns and a desire to spend more time with his family.
Tressel was forced out for knowing but not telling his superiors that Buckeyes players likely broke NCAA rules by taking cash and free or discounted tattoos from the subject of a federal drug trafficking investigation.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said his first conversation with Meyer about the coaching job was by phone on Nov. 20. The two met face to face three days later.
He's now convinced he can balance a healthy life and a high pressure job.
Meyer inherits a young team led by freshman quarterback Braxton Miller, who would seem to be a perfect fit for his spread offence.
Meyer spent six years at Florida, winning national titles in 2006 and 2008. He spent his year away from coaching working as an analyst for ESPN and watching his two daughters play volleyball for their college teams.
Meyer takes over a program that is likely facing NCAA sanctions and was crippled by the forced resignation of Tressel. The Buckeyes completed their only season under Fickell with a 40 34 loss to Michigan on Saturday that snapped a seven game winning streak against their rivals.
Interim coach Luke Fickell, who took over when Jim Tressel was forced out for breaking NCAA rules, will coach the Buckeyes (6 6) in their bowl game. Meyer will keep him on as an assistant but declined to say in what capacity.
Ohio State's .500 record this season marked the most losses at Ohio State since John Cooper's 1999 team also went 6 6 overall and 3 5 in the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes already lost their string of six Big Ten titles when the school was Nike Huarache Ultra forced to vacate the 2010 season for the NCAA violations. The school has also self imposed two years Nike Air Huarache Light Black/Gum
Ohio State is awaiting final word from the NCAA's committee on infractions. The committee tagged Ohio State with a "failure to monitor" label second only to a lack of institutional control on the list of most egregious charges against a university. The school could still be hit with a bowl ban, a loss of more scholarships, or other penalties.
of NCAA probation and offered to return $339,000 in bowl revenue from 2010 and to forfeit five scholarships over the next three seasons.
"A year ago in my mind I was convinced I was done coaching," the 47 year old said.
"There's a right time for certain leaders," he said. "This is the right time for Urban Meyer to lead this football team. . He gets it."
about Meyer's health.
Meyer initially denied all the talk about succeeding Tressel, saying he wasn't interested in leaving ESPN, where he was a college football analyst.
Ohio State President Gordon Gee was at Vanderbilt when Meyer was in the Southeastern Conference with Florida.
In 10 seasons as a head coach two at Bowling Green, two at Utah and six at Florida Meyer has a 104 23 record. His teams are 7 1 in bowl games, including the Gators' 41 14 victory over unbeaten and top ranked Ohio State in the 2007 Bowl Championship Series title game.
"I had a health scare a couple of years ago that made me sit back, reflect," Meyer said of heart and stress problems. "I didn't feel right. But I feel fantastic now."
"If not for the coaching position at Ohio State, I would not have coached this year," said Meyer, who grew up in Ashtabula, Ohio, about 200 miles away from campus.
"He enjoyed what he was doing, but I think he also had the bug to start coaching again," ESPN broadcast partner and former Ohio State linebacker Chris Spielman said. "This was just an opportunity that he couldn't pass up."
with the players' enthusiasm.
ï»¿Urban Meyer to coach beleaguered Buckeyes
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A match that seemed obvious for months was made Monday, when the Buckeyes hired Meyer to take over a glamour program struggling through a year of well publicized NCAA violations.
Former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce gave Meyer his first college coaching job in 1986 and remained a close friend and confidant through the years. He said he had no concerns Nike Huarache All Black Mens
"I always viewed him the way many other coaches referred to him as being a goody two shoes," Gee said in a phone interview. "He was called that because he always tried to do things right, and he was upset if others didn't try to do it right. I have always admired him."
"Well, if he'd had a heart attack and his heart was bad, I'd be worried about that," the 80 year old Bruce said. "I'm not worried that he was stressed out over the game of football because he was thinking too much and not doing some things (exercising) that would have kept him straight. I think he got everything back under control by sitting out a year. I think he missed football. And he's good at it."
He did, though, yearn to be back on the sideline at the Horseshoe.
Meyer will become one of the highest paid coaches in college football, along with Alabama's Nick Saban and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops and Texas' Mack Brown. He was given a six year contract that pays $4 million annually, plus another $2.4 million total in "retention payments." He also can qualify for supplemental bonuses.
"We're putting a lot of pressure on this cat," Meyer joked. "He's special."
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