Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave on Wednesday, leaving the Buckeyes without their leader just two days before fall camp opens. In his place, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day will take over as the interim head coach until a resolution is reached.
So who is Day, who has coached at Ohio State for just one season prior to 2018? Here are five things to know about Ohio State football’s interim head coach.
1. Ryan Day played and coached under offensive innovator Chip Kelly
Day’s career has included plenty of work with current UCLA head coach Chip Kelly. A native of Manchester, N.H., Day played quarterback for New Hampshire and was a three-year starter under offensive coordinator Chip Kelly. He later coached under Kelly for two years in the NFL, as the quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015 and the San Francisco 49ers in 2016.
2. As a college QB, he could sling it
Playing for New Hampshire, Day started for three years and was a team captain during his senior season in 2001. He set program records for career completion percentage (59.1 percent) and career touchdowns (53). Over the course of his career, he completed 653 passes for 7,670 yards. He also still holds the record for pass attempts in a game, having attempted 65 in game against Delaware in 2000 that ended in a 45-44 overtime win for the Wildcats.
Kelly’s offense helped future quarterbacks eclipse some of those marks, but Day still ranks fourth in program history in career passing yards and completions.
3. Ryan Day turned heads quickly at Ohio State
Day helped quarterback J.T. Barrett find his old form in his first year on the job in 2017. Under Day’s tutelage, Barrett posted career bests in completion percentage, passing yards and passing touchdowns. Following the 2017 season, Day was promoted from co-offensive coordinator to offensive coordinator. Additionally, his salary jumped from $400,000 to $1,000,000 and he was given the only three-year contract among assistants.
“Ryan is clearly a very talented coach who has been an outstanding addition to our program,” Meyer said when the promotion was announced. “He has been approached by other schools numerous times this off-season for coordinator and head coach opportunities, and by the National Football League for a coordinator opportunity. I am pleased that he has elected to continue to work on this staff and to lead, mentor and coach the terrific young men we have in this program.”
4. He turned down multiple impressive jobs this offseason
According to college football reporter Bruce Feldman, Day turned down offers to be the head coach at Mississippi State and the offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans. The Mississippi State job later went to Joe Moorhead, while the Titans hired Matt LaFleur as offensive coordinator.
Urban Meyer has officially promoted Ryan Day to OC at #OhioState. Day as we reported yesterday passed on opportunity to become the Titans OC, and a few months ago passed on the opportunity to become the head coach at Miss State.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 23, 2018
5. He comes free of baggage
Ohio State has two former college football head coaches in prominent positions on its staff — offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano. But there’s a reason both of those overqualified coaches are currently assistants instead of head coaches, as both arrived at Ohio State looking to rehab their careers and lose some baggage. Wilson was accused of mistreating players at Indiana, while Schiano had a disastrous stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and later faced a fan revolt when Tennessee tried to hire him. With Meyer being put on paid administrative leave, Ohio State can’t afford from a public relations standpoint to have its interim coach’s past picked apart for off-the-field issues.