The Ohio State football program had to part ways with Urban Meyer after the 2018 season. He said he was retiring because of health-related issues, yet he coached for the Jacksonville Jaguars just a few years later. It was really because of his mishandling of the Zach Smith situation.
Northwestern is facing a similar predicament now. They just went ahead and fired Pat Fitzgerald after hazing issues within their football program. The Wildcats have already hired an interim head coach for the upcoming season because it’s too late to hire someone from the outside.
After this season, they will hold an exhaustive search for a new coach. Could that search include Meyer himself? His NFL tenure quickly flamed out and was an unmitigated disaster. His reputation took a big hit after that mess. But he was an extremely good college coach.
Could Northwestern hire the former Ohio State football coach even after he had off-the-field issues he didn’t handle well just like the coach they just fired? Would that even be in consideration for an institution that is known more for its academics than its athletics?
If Northwestern wants to win more football games, Meyer is a name that they would be foolish to not look at. For how badly the Jacksonville thing went, there’s no denying that Meyer is an excellent college football coach. He wins games and championships and would certainly provide a jolt to a Northwestern program that hasn’t won anything of consequence in two decades.
From a morality standpoint, it would be tough for them to ignore Meyer’s past. I ultimately don’t think that’s a path that Northwestern wants to go down. It’s very likely that they find someone more safe and go down that route. Winning games will be secondary in this search in my opinion.
I would not be shocked to see Meyer coach again at the college level at some point. His name will keep getting mentioned in scenarios like this.