Ryan Day knows the first verse of “Carmen Ohio” by now, having sung it after every Ohio State home football game.
Time and change will surely show how firm thy friendship …
Time and change. Day received more of each last week after signing a three-year contract extension that escalates his pay from the $4.5 million he made in 2019 to $5.4 million this season not counting $1 million added to his retirement plan and then $6.5 million in 2021 and $7.6 million in 2022.
That’s a lot of spare change. How firm thy friendship, indeed.
The money is nice, but Day is more delighted with the extension.
“To me, it wasn’t even really the money part of it. It was the years,” the coach said this week. “That’s what’s really exciting to us.”
The “us” is Day’s family wife Nina and three children who won’t have to pack their bags and make new friends again for a while.
“They knew they weren’t going to be the new kid in school for a long time again,” Day said of his kids’ reaction to the extension. “And that’s the idea, that we’re here for a long time.”
Defining “long time” can be tricky. Three more years? Five? A decade? What if Bill Belichick retires in two years and the New England Patriots come calling? Day and his wife are New Englanders by birth and grew up in maple syrup country. Might that siren’s song be too hard to pass up? Perhaps, but at some point you need to hold your breath and take a man at his word.
Coaching can be a selfish calling. Coaches cart their families across the country while climbing the ladder from assistant to associate to coordinator to commander in charge. They move up, get fired, move on.
Even the most successful coaches live with a packed suitcase. Over a 32-year coaching career, Urban Meyer moved from Ohio State (graduate assistant) to Illinois State, Colorado State, Notre Dame, Bowling Green (his first head coaching job), Utah, Florida and back to Ohio State.
Coaches climb. Is Day any different? He began at New Hampshire, went to Boston College, then Florida, Temple, back to Boston College, back to Temple, back to Boston College, and NFL one-offs in Philadelphia and San Francisco before landing at Ohio State in 2017 as quarterbacks coach under Meyer.
In the whirlwind world of moving trucks and real-estate agents, children become collateral damage. I think Day wants to be done with living out of boxes and forcing his family to follow his ambitions. Conviction is hard to quantify, but he has preached family stability since taking over for Meyer, insisting he wants to remain at Ohio State as long as possible.
“We get to be in Columbus for hopefully the next seven to 10 years, hopefully 20 years,” Day said. “We want to be here as long as we can.”
At the moment, Ohio State feels the same way, which explains why athletic director Gene Smith added three more years after only one year of Day’s first head coaching contract.
"Ryan's performance in all phases of running our program demonstrates he has the capacity to lead it for the long haul," Smith said. "He, Nina and their family truly fit."
The three-year extension means Day, 40, is signed through the 2026 season, which sends a loud message to recruits that he is here as long as he wants. And if he no longer wants? Ohio State sought protection by increasing Day’s buyout from $2 million to $3.5 million for this year, which means he would owe OSU that much if he leaves for another job. The buyout drops by a half-million each year of the contract, but if both sides remain happy with each other, another extension will get done before 2026.
“It goes out to seven years now, which is a significant deal. And that’s a long time in college football,” Day said.
The extension and money clearly show that as seasons pass, Ohio State thinks the Buckeyes under Day will continue to roll.