PASADENA (CNS) - Urban Meyer will end his seven seasons as Ohio State's football coach today when the Buckeyes face Washington in the 105th Rose Bowl.
The 54-year-old Meyer announced on Dec. 4 that he would retire from coaching because of what he described as “a result of cumulative events,” with his health being the No. 1 reason.
Meyer has a cyst in his brain that has grown in recent years, causing him regular headaches, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Meyer had surgery in 2014 to drain the cyst.
Another reason he cited in his retirement news conference was “the fact that we have an elite coach on our staff,” referring to Ryan Day, the offensive coordinator and quarterback coach, who was introduced as Meyer's successor the day his retirement was announced. Day will become the coach Wednesday.
Day led the team to a 3-0 record at the start of this season when Meyer was suspended by the Ohio State Board of Trustees after an investigation determined he mishandled domestic assault allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith.
Meyer has an .852 winning percentage in his 17 seasons as a head coach, third all-time behind Notre Dame legends Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy.
Meyer's .785 winning percentage in bowl games on an 11-3 record is second-highest of all time.
Meyer has an 82-9 record at Ohio State, including three Big Ten Conference championships and the national championship for the 2014 season. He also coached Florida to national championships for the 2006 and 2008 seasons.
Meyer began his head coaching career in 2001 at Bowling Green, coaching the Falcons to a 17-6 record over two seasons. He spent the next two seasons at Utah, coaching the Utes to a 22-2 record.
Meyer had a 65-13 record at Florida from 2005-10.
This will be Meyer's first time coaching in the Rose Bowl, either the stadium or the game.
Coaching in the Rose Bowl game “means the world to me and our staff, because the older guys remember the Rose Bowl and being a premier bowl game in college football with Keith Jackson calling the plays,” Meyer said Sunday at the game's media day, the first time he had been in the stadium.
Meyer said pulled up at the stadium while in Southern California on a recruiting trip as Colorado State's receivers coach in the 1990s hoping to go inside “and I was told to leave. ... I said OK.”
Meyer could have coached in the Rose Bowl twice earlier, but the Buckeyes were too good once and had bad timing the other time.
Ohio State won the Big Ten championship in 2014 but did not play in the Rose Bowl as they were selected for the College Football Playoff and won the national championship.
The Buckeyes also won the Big Ten championship in 2017, a season when the Rose Bowl was a playoff semifinal. Instead, they played in the Cotton Bowl, defeating USC, 24-7.
Ohio State brings a 12-1 record and a No. 5 ranking in the most recent Associated Press poll into the Rose Bowl.
The Buckeyes won their first seven games, suffered their only loss Oct. 20 against Purdue, and have won their past five games, scoring 159 points in their last three games.
The ninth-ranked Huskies (10-3) lost their season opener to Auburn, 21- 16, won their next five games, then lost two of three, losing to Oregon, 30- 27, in overtime and California, 12-10. Washington has won its four most recent games.
Ohio State will be making its 15th Rose Bowl appearance and first since the 2009 season, when it defeated Oregon, 26-17, evening its Rose Bowl record at 7-7.
Washington will be playing in the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 2000 season. The Huskies will also be playing in their 15th Rose Bowl, tying Ohio State and Stanford for third on the all-time list behind USC, which has made 34 appearances, and Michigan, which has made 20.
Washington improved to 7-6-1 in the Rose Bowl with a 34-24 victory over Purdue in its most recent appearance on New Year's Day, in 2001.
The Huskies would have played in the Rose Bowl for the 2016 season as the Pac-12 Conference champion, but were selected for the playoff, losing to Alabama, 24-7 in a semifinal.
This will be the first meeting between the Buckeyes and Washington in the Rose Bowl. Ohio State leads the series 8-3, including a 33-14 victory in the most recent game in 2007.
In the last five Rose Bowls matching Pac-12 and Big Ten teams, the Pac- 12 has won four times.