Urban Meyer might want to send a note of gratitude to Clemson coach Dabo Swinney for the raise he is soon expected to receive that would make him the third highest-paid college football coach in the nation.
During a recruiting battle for a coveted Ohio offensive tackle last December, Swinney reportedly told the player that Meyer was on the “back end” of his coaching career. OSU athletic director Gene Smith decided it was time to put that rumor to rest.
So on National Signing Day in February, Smith revealed that he was in the process of completing a two-year contract extension for the Ohio State coach. On Thursday, the talent and compensation committee of Ohio State’s board of trustees approved the extension. The committee voted in favor of the measure, but did not engage in additional discussion regarding Meyer’s contract.
The full board of trustees will vote on the agreement on Friday.
“We wanted to demonstrate to recruits and their families and parents that ... he would be here the entire time that that young person would be here,” Smith told The Dispatch. “Five years total demonstrates that he and his family are committed to Ohio State and Columbus. It’s a place they want to be.”
The extension will run through the 2022 season, ending on Jan. 31, 2023 and would give Meyer, 53, an annual $7.6 million total cash compensation package, Smith said. That would make Meyer the highest-paid coach in the Big Ten and third-highest nationally.
“He deserves to be paid No. 1 in our league, because he’s No. 1 in the league,” Smith said Thursday.
Only Alabama’s Nick Saban and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher will make more than Meyer. Saban, whose Crimson Tide teams have won five national titles, will make $11.25 million this year. Fisher, hired away from Florida State after last season, signed a 10-year, $75 million contract.
Meyer made $6.43 million in 2017. Meyer’s bonuses are unchanged in the extension. They include $100,000 for winning the Big Ten title, $250,000 for making the College Football Playoff semifinals and an extra $100,000 for reaching the CFP title game.
Meyer has a 73-8 record in six seasons as Ohio State’s coach, including the 2014 College Football Playoff championship and two Big Ten titles. His career coaching record — including time at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida — is 177-31. His winning percentage of .851 is third in Division I history behind only Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy. Meyer also won two national titles at Florida.
The Meyers’ ties to the state were a factor in the contract extension, Smith said.
Both Meyer and his wife, Shelley, are Ohio natives. He was born in Toledo and grew up in Ashtabula before attending the University of Cincinnati. He got his master’s degree while a graduate assistant at Ohio State.
“It’s a good investment, especially when you have a person, a family of that caliber,” he said. “We sometimes miss the mark and focus on the wins and losses, but you think about, he’s from Ohio, she’s from Ohio. They intend to be here....all of those things are a part of the consideration.”