Courtesy of Ohio State Athletics
Huddle up alongside Ryan Day
The new coach welcomes alumni into his bright spotlight, answering questions about the Buckeyes, leadership and family.
Ryan Day spent the previous 17 years as a college and NFL assistant coach, mostly cocooned from intense public attention.
Those shadows are gone now that Day is the new head coach of the Buckeyes and leader of one of college football’s most storied and scrutinized programs.
Day understands and accepts why so much focus is on him as the Buckeyes prepare to open the season August 31 against Florida Atlantic. Interest is especially keen since he’s replacing one of the sport’s all-time legends in retired coach Urban Meyer.
Meyer unconditionally endorsed Day, often referring to him as elite from impressions that his successor made the previous two years as an Ohio State offensive assistant.
Still, there’s much to learn about Day, so the 40-year-old native of Manchester, New Hampshire, was glad to answer questions from alumni eager to know more about their new coach.
Cara Reed and Andrew Ina
- What excites you most about your new head coaching position, and what do you anticipate will be your biggest challenge? — Sherry Prine ’73, ’98 MA
What excites me most is just being part of such a rich tradition — a program that has such an unbelievable history of winning — but also feeling the support throughout Ohio and from the alumni. Being part of that, and leading that, is really special to me. The biggest challenge is going to be dealing with setbacks, handling those types of things, handling the losses, because it is so important here. I have to strike a balance so that even when things are not going well, we still move forward. My family and I must handle those things in the right manner.
- How will you strike a balance among coaching defense, offense and quarterbacks now that you are the head coach? — David Roberts ’73
I kind of have to stop myself because my eyes go to the quarterback and the offense a lot. But I’m in charge of everything now, so it is something I have to plan out ahead of time to make sure I’m involved in all the special teams’ meetings, all the special teams’ drills, which allows me to have some access to the guys on defense. Then I’m picking certain days when I’m just over with the defense and letting the offensive coaches run the offense. That allows me to really focus on the defense and be around those guys. I was able to build some relationships with those defensive guys in the preseason and in the first few games last season. That’s carried over.
- Will you and the coaching staff play the best student-athlete regardless of his experience, or is current production the most important factor? — Jonathan Chu ’02
A lot of things go into naming a starter. We like depth. We like to play a lot of guys, so anybody who deserves to play is going to be on the field. We will obviously play the guys who deserve to be on the field. The most experience is a critical factor in that, and there are a lot of things that we take into consideration that way. But at the end of the day, the best players will play.
- Woody Hayes loved to talk about history, particularly the Second World War. If you could talk about anything but football, what would the subject be? — Dean Ramsey ’52
Traveling is something I really enjoy. I like to go on vacations with the family and see not only different parts of the United States, but also Europe. In recruiting nationally for Ohio State, we are able to do that. I love talking about traveling.
- What kind of music do you enjoy? — Mark Dyser ’98
I like all kinds of music depending on the situation or the mood or what you kind of need at that moment, but I like country music the best. I kind of enjoy going to country concerts. Someone always told me that athletes want to be artists, and artists want to be athletes, so there is kind of a parallel there.
- What are you doing to balance your family time and your coaching job? — Kati Weaks ’89
In this line of work, you have football and you have family. There is really no time for anything else, so I think it’s important for coaches to make sure when they are not doing football that they are fully engaged with family. When you go home, you have to be home, and when you’re in football, you’re in football. I really make sure that I try to do the best I can so that when I’m home, I put the phone down. Although it’s sometimes hard with recruiting. Our family tries to keep everything as normal as we can. We go to the grocery store together. I go to the kids’ games. We do special things with the family.