I have encountered many people and been fortunate enough to be able to tell some great stories throughout my 20 years as a broadcaster.
Some moments you forget (or would like to forget), some are forever entrenched in your mind.
One such day is December 4, 2000.
I was hosting the 'Falcon's Nest Coaches Show' from Frickers Restaurant in Bowling Green on the team's radio network. My job each week was to interview then-BGSU basketball coach Dan Dakich, now an ESPN analyst, along with then-hockey coach Buddy Powers.
There was an extra buzz around Northwest Ohio on that chilly Monday evening. Hours earlier, a young, energetic 36-year-old unknown named Urban Frank Meyer III had just been introduced as the new head football coach of the Falcons.
Meyer had come to BG from Notre Dame, where he served as wide receivers coach. It was thought rare that a position coach without any experience as a coordinator would be hired to be the head coach of a MAC program.
But as we all found out for the next 18 years, Urban Meyer was no ordinary coach.
In the middle of the "Falcon's Nest" show, Dakich took off his headset and handed it to Meyer, who had just walked into the restaurant. "Wait until you get a load of this guy," Dakich said with a sly smile. "You won't believe how impressive he is."
To this day, I've never met a coach or athlete with more charisma than Meyer. He sold that crowd and he sold me on his vision of what the Falcons could become.
Long before he was standing with his players for "Carmen Ohio," Meyer was getting the Bowling Green community re-energized about Falcon football. They upset Missouri to start the 2001 season, rallied to beat Northwestern, then routed rival Toledo to close out an 8-3 campaign.
BG had been 2-9 the previous season.
After the Northwestern win, Meyer walked into his "Falcon's Nest" show and instead of sitting with me at the start, he grabbed the crowd microphone and had the two sides engage in a shouting contest.
One side yelled "B-G," while the other shouted back "S-U." This continued for a good minute or two.
Do you think I was going to tell Urban Meyer to sit down because his show was on the air?
I bring all of this up because 18 years to the day that his head coaching career began at BGSU, Meyer announced his retirement as head coach of Ohio State University, effective after the Rose Bowl.
I can't say that I was surprised. This was a long year for Meyer.
He was under the microscope for weeks in July and August as the Zach Smith domestic abuse allegations began to surface. He was first placed on leave, then suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season as punishment for how he handled the situation.
In October, we found out that the 54-year-old Meyer has been dealing with a cyst that has been causing him severe headaches and frequent pain on the left side of his head, particularly in the past two years.
Remember, this is a man who left at the top of his game at Florida largely because of health concerns. He woke up the night after the SEC Championship game complaining of chest pains and tingling sensations. He has also dealt with mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.
As I wrote about earlier this year, that battle is incredibly difficult.
This is happening while Meyer's Buckeyes continue to be the class of the Big 10 Conference. Meyer's teams are 7-0 against Michigan. Life should be good, right? But when you are expected to compete for a national championship every year, and miss the College Football Playoff in consecutive years, you tend to put more pressure on yourself.
I believe what Meyer reportedly told North Carolina coach Mack Brown this morning. "He told me he couldn't be animated at the level he needed to to energize his team," Brown told ESPN. "He said, 'If I can't coach like I need to coach, I'm not going to coach.'"
That's Urban Meyer. If he can't do it the way he's always done it, then it's time for him to step down.
I'm not sure if we'll see him on the sidelines again. If this is merely a case of burnout, then perhaps after an absence of a few years, he'll decide that his health is good enough for him to have another go at coaching. It would have to be the right opportunity at the right school.
Otherwise, Urban Frank Meyer III can rest easy knowing that the battles are over and he's earned a well-deserved rest. Three national championships, 3 Big 10 championships, a record of 82-9 with the Buckeyes and 186-32 overall (BGSU, Utah, Florida and Ohio State) speaks for itself.
In the meantime, can I have the microphone back now coach?
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