The former University of Utah head coach (2003-2004) and current Ohio State University head football coach Urban Meyer returned to Utah this week to speak at the ACG Utah conference. Meyer is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and came out of retirement to take the job at Ohio State in November. He retired after five years at the University of Florida because of health issues and to work as a television analyst for ESPN. The Ohio native is remembered fondly by Utahns thanks to his success at Utah, which included an undefeated season (12-0) and a Fiesta Bowl win against Pittsburgh. It was the first time a team from a non-automatic qualifying conference qualified for a BCS game.
Q: Do you miss Utah at all?
A: I miss it terribly. Shelly is up on the ski slopes. My son took snowboarding lessons today. I miss the people; I miss the weather; I miss everything. I miss the people at the University of Utah — Chris Hill and the great support staff I had. I loved living here. I still think this is the best climate in the country.
Q: You once called Ohio State your dream job. Is that why you returned to coaching?
A: When I was coaching at Utah it was my dream job. But Ohio is my home. It's where I'm from. I was born and raised there. And I've always been a Buckeye fan, since I was little.
Q: What did you miss most about coaching college athletes?
A: The ability to make an impact on them. It's a very impressionable time in their life and there are a lot right now, probably more than ever, outside influences trying to hurt them.
Q: What do you hope kids get out of playing for you?
A: I hope they develop a sense of selflessness, accountability with teammates and obviously get a great degree and get them prepared for life after football. (The lessons are) important — being a member of a team, having your teammates count on you. That's no different when you raise a family and your family counts on you. When you get a job, your employer counts on you, your colleagues count on you.
Q: What do you think of Utah going to the Pac-12?
A: I love the Utes. Chris Hill and I talked about that in 2004. I thought we had as good a facilities in the Pac-12, or Pac-10 at the time, and the city, the following, the people who live in Salt Lake have a Pac-12 school. (You could end up coaching against Kyle Whittingham). I'm not a big fan of that. Kyle is a great coach.