RUSTY MILLER,AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Urban Meyer is coming back to coaching and joining beleaguered Ohio State, ESPN reported Monday.
The sports network did not cite a source for its report, but Meyer worked for ESPN the past year.
Meyer won two national championships in six years as the coach at Florida. He left the Gators a year ago, citing health concerns and a desire to spend more time with his family. Now, the 47-year-old Ohioan will be returning to his roots by becoming coach of a Buckeyes team facing NCAA problems.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith did not immediately respond to a request for comment. No announcement has been set by Ohio State, although there were reports that a team meeting set for Sunday night has been moved to Monday afternoon.
Meyer takes over a program that has been hit by several suspensions and the forced resignation of coach Jim Tressel. The Buckeyes completed a 6-6 season under interim Luke Fickell with a 40-34 loss to rival Michigan on Saturday.
In 10 seasons as a head coach — two at Bowling Green, two at Utah and six at Florida – Meyer had a 104-23 record and won three national coach of the year awards. His teams are 7-1 in bowl games, including the Gators’ 41-14 victory over unbeaten and top-ranked Ohio State in the 2007 Bowl Championship Series title game.
Meyer had consistently and persistently denied all the talk surrounding him and Ohio State. Soon after Tressel was pressured to resign, Meyer said he wasn’t interested in leaving ESPN, where he was a college football analyst.
“I am committed to ESPN and will not pursue any coaching opportunities this fall,” he said in a statement released the day after Tressel lost his job. Just last week he said no job had been offered to him nor was he pursuing one.
But that flew in the face of weeks of speculation that he was Ohio State’s first choice to take over a program that has a glittering past but has faltered over a troublesome last 12 months.
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