There were at least two big items of interest yesterday in college football and they both involved coaching changes. First, Ohio State's Urban Meyer announced that the Buckeyes' Rose Bowl game with Washington would be his last game. He would be retiring due to concerns for his health. Secondly, Chattanooga native Will Healy was named as the new head coach at Charlotte after three seasons at Austin Peay. One veteran coach deciding to hang it up, while an up and coming young coach is stepping up the coaching ladder.
Urban Meyer's final season at Ohio State was one filled with turmoil.
Remember, he was suspended for the first three games of the season due to the way he botched the domestic assault charges against assistant coach Zach Smith. Even worse was his initial reaction; one that was void of any emotion at all and one that contained no apology at all for the victim. He even was forced to have a second press conference to at least apologize to Zach Smith's wife for failing to report the incident. Meyer's actions, or lack of action, drew the ire of fans from coast to coast and likely helped lead to his retirement decision.
Will Healy on the other hand at the age of 33, will become one of the youngest head coaches at an FBS school as he will be introduced later today in Charlotte as the 49ers next head coach. If you remember, Charlotte lost to Tennessee 14-3 earlier this past season. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is a member of Conference USA and, after going 5-7 in 2018, the Niners fired head coach Brad Lambert.
Healy, who played at Boyd Buchanan here in Chattanooga, was a member of the Richmond Spiders' National FCS Championship team in 2008. After spending six seasons as an assistant at UTC under Russ Huesman, he was hired at Austin Peay and his first team went 0-11, extending a 29-game losing streak before his next team went on a tear and finished 8-4, barely missing the FCS playoffs. Healy was named the Eddie Robinson Award winner as the Coach of the Year in FCS football.
Coach Healy has the charisma and leadership abilities to be a successful head coach. Heck, he's already been a successful head football coach, winning at a school that was the doormat of the Ohio Valley Conference for decades. I certainly wish the best for Will, his wife Emily and son Eli as they embark on their next stop on the coaching ladder. I also hope that Will's dad Rob and mother Betsy as well as Emily's mom and dad Donna and Ted Broyles can save up their frequent flyer miles to follow the 49ers as they did the Governors.
Good luck, young Will. You will do great as always.
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Randy Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org