Some students at Ohio State University said they were sorry to hear of the coming departure of head football coach Urban Meyer, who will officially retire after the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. But most of those interviewed Tuesday said they are optimistic about offensive coordinator Ryan Day taking over the reins when Meyer steps down.
Meyer leaves in his wake both a legacy of winning and questions about his handling of abuse allegations leveled against a since-fired assistant coach.
>>Video: Ohio State students react to Meyer's decision to step down
"I grew up in Columbus, so I was around the entire time he was head coach, and I remember when he won us the national championship" in 2015, said sophomore Fay Dahir. "So I'm a little bit sad that he retired so soon."
Senior Raqueal Toran was ambivalent about football in high school but found herself converted when she arrived on campus, describing the enthusiasm for the Buckeyes as "contagious."
Meyer's aggressive coaching style, which resulted in 82 wins over seven seasons, is a big reason why Toran found Ohio State football so entertaining, she said.
"He's one of the reasons I would watch the games," she said. "Seeing him go is really sad."
Meyer's tenure is a tough act to follow. Under his guidance, the football team racked up an undefeated season, three Big Ten championships, a victory in the Fiesta Bowl and another in the Cotton Bowl, two appearances in the College Football Playoff and seven straight wins against arch-rival Michigan in addition to the national title.
Students said they see Day as a capable replacement. The offensive coordinator won three straight games when he stepped in for Meyer after the head coach was suspended for three games because administrators decided he had failed to follow proper protocol after abuse allegations against assistant coach Zach Smith came to light.
"I think he left a good coaching program behind him," senior Dylan Carlson said of Meyer.
Questions about the off-the-field conduct of his assistant coaches dogged Meyer through his career as a head coach at the University of Florida and again at Ohio State, and some students said they're happy that Ohio State will no longer be the subject of negative headlines.
"This is going to clear up a lot of stuff," said senior Garrett Peter. "A lot of people have been talking about Ohio State in a negative context because of that, which was annoying."
But Peter added that Urban Meyer was a great coach who left his mark on the university.