Number Two: Tennessee Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel
If the NFL is the pinnacle of the coaching profession in the sport of football, then former Buckeye Mike Vrabel must certainly be considered one of Ohio State’s top former players within the profession. After a stellar 14-year career in the NFL as a player, that included a Pro Bowl and three Super Bowl victories, Vrabel decided to try his hand at coaching the game.
His good friend and former college teammate Luke Fickell was named the head coach of the Ohio State football program after Jim Tressel was dismissed from the program. Vrabel took over as the linebacker’s coach. Once Urban Meyer was hired a year later, Vrabel was retained and coached the linebackers for two more seasons before moving back to the NFL and being named the linebackers coach for the Houston Texans.
Vrabel was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2017 before being named the head coach for the Tennessee Titans in 2018. In five seasons as head coach of the Titans, Vrabel has had four winning seasons and has made the playoffs in three of them.
His reputation has grown as a player’s coach who has high energy and quick intelligence on the sideline when it comes to game management. His overall record as a head coach is 48-34, which doesn’t seem great when compared to names in the college ranks, but that is actually a pretty amazing winning percentage in the NFL, especially for a younger coach.
Would Vrabel return to Ohio State to become the head coach if called upon? I’m not sure he would. Being a college coach is much more time-consuming than being an NFL headman. Sure, Ohio State could throw a lot more money at him than he would make in Tennessee or at another NFL franchise, but where is he at in his life goals?
Vrabel’s two sons are grown up, so it’s not like he would be moving little children. He is at that age where if he wanted to, he could still build a nice lengthy career at Ohio State. He has plenty of coaching experience, and he has a good reputation that could be a benefit in recruiting due to his playing career in the NFL.
Finally, and most importantly, he is a Buckeye. The Akron, Ohio native loves Ohio State. There would most definitely be a strong pull from his alma mater and the fanbase if called upon.