COLUMBUS, Ohio -- As Urban Meyer walked off the field after Ohio State routed Michigan, he was pondering his future and when to make a decision about when to call it quits.
The 54-year-old Meyer, in fact, had been thinking about retiring since the middle of last season.
The pain from headaches caused by an arachnoid cyst in his brain had grown worse this season. Off-the-field issues -- including a three-game suspension for the mismanagement of an assistant coach accused of domestic violence -- also had worn on him. And an ideal successor just happened to be in place in Ryan Day, his 39-year-old offensive coordinator.
On Tuesday, two days after the Buckeyes beat Northwestern to earn a second consecutive Big Ten championship, Meyer announced he was stepping down after the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 and likely would never coach again.
"The decision was a result of cumulative events," Meyer said during a news conference. "And health number one. The fact that we have an elite coach on our staff. The fact that our program is very healthy. We've recruited very well. All played a significant role in this."
Meyer is leaving at the top of his profession after three national championships in a career spanning three decades, the last seven years at Ohio State, where he has an 82-9 record.
He had shown effects of being in pain on the sideline this season, leading to questions about his future. Meyer explained that the headaches became severe last season during Ohio State's game at Penn State and have become a persistent problem this season.
Meyer said he can no longer coach the way he has from the early days at Bowling Green to Utah, Florida and, finally, with the Buckeyes.
"The style of coaching I've done for 33 years is very intense, very demanding. I tried to delegate more and CEO more and the product started to feel ...," he said, not finishing his thought. "I didn't feel I was doing right by our players and by Gene [Smith, the athletic director]."
Meyer said leaving would have been more difficult if the program wasn't healthy. The Buckeyes are 12-1 and Meyer said he felt good about his replacement. Day will take over as the 25th coach of the storied program where Meyer won a national title in 2014 after winning two at Florida (2006, 2008).
"You want to hand it off to someone who could make it stronger," Meyer said.
It was Day who led the Buckeyes when Meyer was suspended before the season opener over his role in the handling of now-fired assistant Zach Smith, who was accused by his ex-wife of domestic abuse. Meyer said he knew about the allegations against Smith -- a grandson of former Ohio State coach Earle Bruce -- but wasn't sure they were true and kept Smith on staff because no criminal charges were filed. The university cited that lapse in suspending Meyer after an investigation.
A report issued by an investigative committee left a stain, detailing behavior by Meyer that could have taken down a coach of lesser stature. The investigation showed he tolerated bad behavior for years from Smith, including domestic-violence accusations, drug addiction, lies and other acts that directly clash with the values Meyer touts publicly.
Meyer acknowledged the investigation was among the reasons for stepping down, and he was asked whether the suspension will affect his legacy.
"I'm sure it will," he said. "I can lie to you and say it is not important to me."
The announcement came as the Buckeyes begin preparations for the bowl game against Washington and less than three weeks before schools can sign a fresh batch of recruits. Meyer said his decision had to come before the early signing period opens Dec. 19.
W L PCT
2001 Bowling Green 8 3 .727
2002 Bowling Green 9 3 .750
2003 Utah 10 2 .833
2004 Utah 12 0 1.000
2005 Florida 9 3 .750
2006 Florida-x 13 1 .929
2007 Florida 9 4 .692
2008 Florida-x 13 1 .929
2009 Florida 12 1 .923
2010 Florida 7 5 .583
2012 Ohio State 12 0 1.000
2013 Ohio State 12 2 .857
2014 Ohio State-x 14 1 .933
2015 Ohio State 12 1 .923
2016 Ohio State 11 2 .846
2017 Ohio State 12 2 .857
2018 Ohio State-y 9 1 .900
TOTAL 186 32 .853
y-suspended three games
BOWL RECORD (10-3)
2003 LIBERTY BOWL Utah 17, Southern Miss. 0
2005 FIESTA BOWL Utah 35, Pittsburgh 7
2006 OUTBACK BOWL Florida 31, Iowa 24
2007 BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP Florida 41, Ohio State 14
2008 CAPITAL ONE BOWL Michigan 41, Florida 35
2009 BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP Florida 24, Oklahoma 14
2010 SUGAR BOWL Florida 51, Cincinnati 24
2011 OUTBACK BOWL Florida 37, Penn State 24
2014 ORANGE BOWL Clemson 40, Ohio State 35
2015 SUGAR BOWL (CFP SF) Ohio State 42, Alabama 35
2015 CFP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP Ohio State 42, Oregon 20
2016 FIESTA BOWL (CFP SF) Clemson 31, Ohio State 0
2017 COTTON BOWL Ohio State 24, Southern Cal 7
Sports on 12/05/2018
Print Headline: Ohio St.'s Meyer to retire after Rose Bowl