Ohio State football coach Ryan Day was seated on a ballroom stage at the Greater Columbus Convention Center on Tuesday morning when he was asked a question about the transition to his new role.
The biggest difference between a job as an offensive coordinator and his new gig, as head coach? It took only a second for Day to crack a joke.
“A lot more photos,” Day said.
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Without question, Day’s profile has grown in the six months since his promotion, replacing the retired Urban Meyer. When he attended the Columbus Arts Festival with his family last weekend, he met other event attendees who asked for him to pose for pictures.
This offseason makes for a sort of introductory period for Day, who has attended a number of public events.
The latest was the Morning Sports Report breakfast, an annual event hosted by the Greater Columbus Sports Commission.
During a 15-minute conversion moderated by James Laurinaitis, the former Ohio State linebacker and current college football analyst, Day touched on several topics, including his approach to being a fulltime head coach for the first time (he served as coach for three games last season while Meyer was suspended).
Day explained to the audience that he hoped to be “an approachable head coach.”
“That’s really what I believe strongly in,” Day said. “I think these kids nowadays, in our generation, need someone they feel comfortable coming to. I loved my coach, but I couldn’t walk into his office and have some conversations that hopefully our guys can here.”
The comments came a week after Day announced that he and his wife, Christina, had started a fund aimed at improving mental health at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
One of the things Day noticed among his current crop of players was how quickly they picked up their phones in the locker room after games.
“There’s a lot more expectations nowadays with social media, things like that, playing in that big stadium,” he said.
Day saw it as his role to help them deal with the accompanying pressure.
“I think it’s really important to have that type of relationship with the kids as a head coach where we can have those conversations,” Day said. “Building that environment for these kids is really what I’ve been trying to do.”