Staff turnover is usually a part of a coaching transition, and that could happen when Ryan Day takes over for the retiring Urban Meyer as Ohio State’s football coach on Jan. 2.
There could be changes among the assistant coaches. But the key people Meyer relied on will remain on staff under Day.
Four in particular have been Meyer’s right-hand men. Probably the most important is Mickey Marotti. He has been far more than a head strength coach for Meyer. They are confidants. His lofty title — assistant athletic director for football performance — speaks to his importance.
Also staying is assistant athletic director for player personnel Mark Pantoni, who followed Meyer from Florida and spearheads Ohio State’s recruiting operation. He is regarded as one of the premier recruiting directors in the country.
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Ryan Stamper, the assistant athletic director for player development, leads the Buckeyes’ growing program to prepare athletes for a post-football career. Brian Voltolini heads football operations. Both are staying.
The four provide the foundation to a program infrastructure that both Meyer and Day cited as one of Ohio State’s strengths.
“It's arguably the best I've ever been around,” Meyer said.
Because Marotti, in particular, is so close to Meyer and well-respected by Ohio State players, losing him would have been a significant blow. Smith said that wouldn’t have happened even if Day hadn’t been hired.
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Smith said that last year, Marotti was promoted to oversee not only the football strength coaches but also those for Ohio State’s Olympic sports. Even if Ohio State had hired its football coach from elsewhere, Marotti would have stayed as the strength coach.
“We took Mickey from being just a football guy to a sports performance leader,” Smith said. “Whoever came in from the outside, they typically want to hire their strength coach. They wouldn’t have that option.”
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As for the assistant coaching staff, that’s a different matter. Smith said Day would have autonomy to choose his assistants.
Day was noncommittal about who he might want to retain.
“We're so busy right now and everything has happened in the last 48 hours very fast,” he said. “Guys are on the road recruiting. This is a big time for us recruiting with the early signing day (Dec. 19). We're getting ready for the bowl game. That's the focus right now. Like every year at the end of the bowl game, we'll go through and evaluate everything.”
Smith said he wouldn’t interfere with that process and said he doesn’t know who will be retained.
“That’s his deal, and I wouldn’t tell you if I knew,” he said. “That’s 100 percent his decision.”