Shelf Life

Urban Meyer on coaching football … and life

Kai Ryssdal and Tommy Andres Oct 28, 2015
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Shelf Life

Urban Meyer on coaching football … and life

Kai Ryssdal and Tommy Andres Oct 28, 2015
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Last year, the Ohio State Buckeyes won the College Football National Championship game. But it wasn’t the first win for Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer. A former defensive back at the University of Cincinnati, in his coaching career, Meyer has taken home three national championship trophies. And Meyer’s 142 to 26 win/loss ratio puts him at the top of the college football coach rankings.

Meyer thinks what he’s learned coaching college football applies elsewhere, too. In his new book, “Above the Line: Lessons in Leadership and Life From a Championship Season” Meyer applies the lessons he’s learned coaching the nation’s best student athletes — off the football field.

On the first thing he tells his players at the start of a new season:

It’s probably evolved over the years as I’ve grown as a coach and as a leader…. Any time you’re in a team sport — and I’m a little biased obviously — but football is the ultimate team sport. It’s hard to gain a yard without relying on each other. But that you have to play with a greater purpose, a greater cause. Something other than yourself. And that’s a message that they’ll hear continuously during their career at Ohio State.

On what “above the line” means:

Well, there’s a line in every day. You’re either above it or below it. And it’s a choice you make, it’s a decision. Above the line is a choice to be intentional and on purpose. And below the line is impulsive and on autopilot. Whether that’s relationships, it’s work ethic, it’s practice, it’s how you handle your studies or during the course of a game, we all have decisions to make. And above the line, it’s a very clear line of demarcation. You’re either doing it in a positive way or you’re doing it in an impulsive, negative way.

On whether or not college players should get paid:

No. No, I don’t think we should pay players. I think we need to take care of them. I think what’s happened in the last two years — they now get a cost of living expense, they get a full scholarship. There are some elite guys that have an opportunity to do things with their own contracts. I just think that would take away the amateurism and what college sports are really all about.

Do football coaches’ in this country make too much money?

Oh, I think so, probably…. It is a hard question. I think there’s a lot that is expected of the coaches and it’s market driven. But sometimes, I don’t think about it often, but when you do, this is never something that you would have imagined.

On what he tells graduating seniors who aren’t going on to the NFL:

That the experience was invaluable. That they received an incredible degree. And that we have things in place now that we actually assist them in securing employment and jobs. Everyone comes to a place like Ohio State, Alabama and USC thinking they’re gonna go play football for 15 years and the majority do not. That experience helps you down the road. And you’re not being used by a university, and that’s a big thing we want to make sure is not going to happen.

On the tattoo he promised to get after winning it all last year:

Fifty-one-year-old men should not be getting tattoos. But I did make a promise so I’m going to follow through at some point.

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