Urban Meyer, the head football coach at the Ohio State University is facing intense pressure over an incident involving a now former assistant coach. Meyer has stated publicly that he was unaware of domestic violence allegations against a former member of his staff, Zach Smith.
Meyer has insisted that had he known about the allegations, he would have fired Smith in 2015. “I was never told about anything. Never anything came to light, never had a conversation about it. So I know nothing about it. I asked people back at the office to call and see what happened, and they came back and said they know nothing.”
But messages between Smith’s ex-wife and Shelley Meyer are contradicting Urban Meyer’s claim. College football insider Brett McMurphy shared on Facebook that he had obtained text messages between Meyer’s wife Shelley and Courtney Smith. Shelley and Courtney were exchanging text messages in 2015 about the alleged domestic violence issues.
It remains to be seen what impact this controversy will have on Urban Meyer’s job. He is one of the highest paid coaches in college sports. His net worth is estimated at $20 million.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Urban Meyer Negotiated a Raise with Ohio State Ahead of the 2018 Football Season
Urban Meyer has been the head coach at the Ohio State University since 2012. In April 2018, he negotiated a contract extension that was approved by the university’s governing board.
In 2017, Urban Meyer was paid $5.4 million. His contract stated that he would receive an $800,000 raise heading into the 2018 season. But the renegotiations resulted in an even higher raise: Meyer’s agreed-upon salary for the 2018 football season would be $7.6 million.
This deal makes Meyer the highest-paid coach football coach at a public school. The only other university coaches that earn above $7 million are University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and University of Alabama’s Nick Saban.
2. During His Tenure at the University of Florida, Urban Meyer was the Highest Paid Coach in the SEC
In 2009, Urban Meyer signed a $24 million contract with the University of Florida. That equaled out to $4 million per year. This made him the highest-paid coach in the SEC. During his tenure, the Gators won two national championships.
Of course, Urban Meyer did not ultimately end up earning all of that money. He resigned from the job at the end of 2010. That meant leaving more than $20 million on the table. According to ESPN, Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley did agree to pay Meyer a $1 million retention bonus that Meyer was slated to receive at the beginning of 2011.
Meyer stated that he was resigning in order to spend more time with his family. But less than a year later, it was announced that Meyer had accepted the head coaching job at Ohio State. Meyer is originally from Ashtabula, Ohio.
3. Urban Meyer and Wife Shelley Own a Mansion in the Columbus Suburb of Dublin
Urban Meyer and his wife Shelley own a home in Dublin, Ohio. It’s a wealthy suburb located about 20 minutes from downtown Columbus. Specifically, they live in Muirfield Village. The Muirfield Village Golf Club is considered one of the most prestigious golf courses in the world and hosts the annual Memorial Tournament,
The Meyer mansion is just shy of 12,000 square feet, sitting on 2 acres. Originally built in 1985, it was listed for $2.8 million in 2010. The Meyers managed to get the price way down, buying it for $1.45 million. The home includes 7 bedroom and an outdoor pool.
In a 2015 article in Columbus Monthly, Shelley Meyer explained that she likes to maintain a laid-back atmosphere in her home. “I like relaxed. I never wanted a house where people felt like they couldn’t touch anything, or it was cold and stuffy and not warm and inviting and friendly. I’m just very simple.”
4. Urban Meyer Got His Start as a Head Football Coach at Bowling Green State University
Urban Meyer worked as an assistant football coach for more than a decade at the beginning of his career. He spent time at Ohio State in 1986, before moving on to Illinois State, Colorado State and finally Notre Dame. In 2001, he got the opportunity to to serve as a head coach.
Urban Meyer is credited with helping turn the football program at Bowling Green State University around. The Falcons had a 2-9 record in 2000, and expectations were low. Meyer led the team an 8-3 record in his first season as head coach. The Falcons also won a Motor City Bowl championship over Toledo. In 2002, Bowling Green improved its record to 9-3.
Meyer spent two seasons with the University of Utah, before accepting the big job at the University of Florida in 2005.
5. Urban Meyer Faced Criticism During His Time at the University of Florida Over Players Arrested
Urban Meyer struggled to keep his players out of trouble during his time as head coach at the University of Florida. In total, 31 players were arrested over the course of his career with the Gators. One of those people was Aaron Hernandez, who was convicted of homicide and sentenced to life in prison. Hernandez was found hanging in his cell in 2017.
In a 2014 interview for HBO’s Real Sports, Meyer reflected on his time with the Gators. He told the show, “We did make mistakes. If I look back now, the biggest mistake I probably gave second chances to some people that maybe shouldn’t. But this is someone’s son. I know in my soul we’re doing it right, doing the best we can. Did we make mistakes? We make mistakes.”