Urban Meyer got permission from his wife, Shelley, and children before agreeing to coach again. His children forced him to sign their own pact.
Associated Press Enlarge
COLUMBUS -- Before Urban Meyer could sit down with Ohio State officials and discuss a working agreement to become the next head coach of the Buckeyes, he had to face a more formidable panel.
Nicki, Gigi, and Nate -- Meyer's three children -- grilled him at a family gathering in Atlanta the day before Thanksgiving and laid out their terms before consenting to his return to coaching. They had a contract of their own in hand.
According to Meyer's wife, Shelley, the caucus with his children was "quite emotional," with his children asking some tough questions about how their dad would approach this job differently and maintain better balance in his life.
"It's tougher than any other contract I've signed in my life," said Meyer, who brought the deal with him for his initial face-to-face meeting with OSU officials.
The terms were crafted by Nicki, a junior volleyball player at Georgia Tech, with input from Gigi, a freshman volleyball player at Florida Gulf Coast, and Nate, 13.
Nicki put the stipulations on a pink piece of paper: It requires Meyer to exercise at least every other day, eat three meals a day, and attend some of his daughters' volleyball games. There is also a clause that he keep his phone on silent during church and an entry limiting the number of hours Meyer can spend at the office each day.
"Family always comes first, no matter what" one fundamental line reads.
Shelley Meyer said her children's motivation was singular -- they did not want to see their dad dealing with the same stress-induced health issues that forced him to resign at Florida a year ago. The 47-year-old Ohio native spent the previous 10 years as a head coach at Bowling Green, Utah, and Florida.
At Monday's news conference where he was introduced as the next head coach of the Buckeyes, Meyer pulled the pink pact from his pocket and displayed it to the large gathering of media and OSU staff inside a crowded ball room at the Fawcett Center on campus. He proclaimed that his micro-managing days as a head coach are history.
"This is a contract that my kids made me sign before I was allowed to sign a real contract," Meyer said. "There are no people more important to me than my three children and my wife. They had some second thoughts."
Meyer said he did not want to again fall into "an age-old problem" where the job comes first.
"The executive or the doctor or the lawyer or the teacher, the professor, the policeman that just gets so enamored or so consumed by their profession that they forget really what the purpose of our whole deal is, and that's to raise a wonderful family."
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