PORT CLINTON — Summer and vacation seem to fly by, and it’s no different for Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer.
“Now with a grandson … there’s not many seconds that aren’t used, because I know what’s coming down the road,” Meyer said, referring to the Big Ten media days next week and the start of preseason camp soon after. “When you were a younger coach, people in June would say ‘You ready to go?’ And I’d say ‘Yeah, can’t wait for it to start.’
“It’s changed. Now I can’t wait for vacation, and can’t wait to spend time with your loved ones, because we all know what’s going to happen next week.”
What has struck him is that he is on the brink of doing something he has never done before: coach for the seventh straight season at the same place. Meyer, 54, has put together a 73-8 record with two Big Ten titles and one national title in his previous six seasons with the Buckeyes.
>> Join the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
“But I’ve also learned to not look back, look forward, just kind of live in the moment,” he said. “One of the big sayings we have this year with our team is ‘Just win the moment.’ ”
Meyer was at the Catawba Island Club on a muggy Monday, going back in time for what he considers a noble cause: support of Bowling Green football. It was Bowling Green that made him a head coach for the first time in 2001, plucking him from a five-year stint as an assistant at Notre Dame.
The chance turned out to be his career springboard. He won big immediately before moving on to Utah in 2003, to Florida in 2005 and, after a one-year hiatus in 2011, to Ohio State, continuing to win big at all three schools.
So when BG invited him to take part in the 10th version of its summer golf outing with former head coaches Don Nehlen, Gary Blackney and Dave Clawson, he jumped at it. That’s even though it meant flying back immediately from the American Century Championship golf tournament he played in over the weekend at Lake Tahoe.
“I would do anything for Bowling Green,” Meyer said. “We took a place that was struggling a little bit, in a town that really thrives when that football program is going. … It just enlivens that whole town. I had nothing but great experiences. …
“We had a great turnaround (going from 2-9 the year before to 8-3 in 2001), and to this day probably the best group of seniors I’ve ever had. They expected nothing and appreciated everything. That’s rare nowadays, and it was awesome.”
Blackney admired it from afar. He had left an assistant’s job at Ohio State to become Falcons head coach in 1991, and, like Meyer, he had instant success, winning the Mid-American Conference championship in 1991 and ’92. But he said Monday he stayed too long, stepping down after the 2000 season and moving to Maryland as an assistant.
“One of the reasons I left is I thought the team needed a different voice, a different approach,” Blackney said.
He also cautioned Meyer not to overstay. Meyer, who as a graduate assistant at OSU in 1986 and ’87 got to know then-defensive coordinator Blackney well, took his advice.
“I still call him ‘coach Blackney,’ that’s how much respect I have for him … He said (Bowling Green) is like a magnet, the people, the town, they entrap you, because they are such good people,” Meyer said. “But the hard thing is to sustain. Any Mid-American school is hard to sustain” because of the parity in the league.
So he made his mark and moved on.
“You could see there were stars on the horizon for him,” Blackney said.