“Urban Renewal”, not a new headline, but a new take.

  • BY Lisa Byington
  • 4.23.12

Urban Renewal, though not exactly a new literary creation, is the
catchiest phrase in Columbus these days. The reported 81,000 showing
up for his spring game in cold, drizzly weather seems to be a good
litmus test of the excitement in town.

Our broadcast crew of Tom Hart, Derek Rackley, and myself got 30
minutes of time with Coach Meyer in his office on Friday … between
his speaking engagement at a coaching clinic, visiting with recruits,
coaching practice, and attending alumni functions.

First thing I noticed when we sat down is the contract one of his
daughters wrote him when he took the job at OSU. It’s handwritten on a
pink piece of paper and framed right above his desk. There is a list of
10 things she wants him to do better for THIS coaching stint. I had
heard about the contract before, but I hadn’t seen specifically what
was on it.

#1? Put your family first. Others? When you sleep, put your phone on
silent. Take a trip at least once a year with your daughter. Eat three
meals a day. Only spend nine hours in the office — THAT ONE I
questioned him on. Meyer laughed, looked down, and grinned at me,
“That’s the only one I’ve broken.”

He admitted to us that this has been a hard move for his family,
mostly his wife and 13-year-old son. “I’m from here and a gypsy,” he
joked. But his wife had been in Florida for 7 years, and up until now,
that’s all his son knew. The Meyers are going to keep a place down
there. He added, “Thank God the last three weeks have been

His son won’t have too hard of a life, either. Meyer reiterated what
he told BTN’s Gerry DiNardo during his visit to campus earlier this
spring. “My son is going to help me coach (in the fall). That’s the
plan.” Then he joked, “I am going to have him call plays.” When I
stopped, looked up from taking notes after hearing that, Meyer
laughed, “Just kidding on that.”

He admitted his time with TV has changed his perspective on a lot of
things about the media. “I told my wife, I didn’t know there was a
play-by-play person AND an analyst.” He went into a story about his first
practice session with ESPN, a dry run before the Texas spring game.
Here’s a guy who had been staring at playbooks for 20 years, and never
even thought about TV. His response to the session? “We’re going to
practice what??!”

He was scheduled to work with Joe Tessitore and Chris Spielman. They
walked up to the booth, had everything set up: program monitor, replay
monitor, cough button, mics. Meyer’s take on Joe Tessitore: “His voice
blows you out of the box.”

So the ESPN production staff sticks an old game DVD into the truck and
expects these guys to call the game. Meyer takes the story from there:
“Joe Tessitore exclaims: Here we are LIVE… I mean, he’s going
berserk. My ears are ringing. Chris does his part, and then they both
look at me….

“….I don’t say A THING for 3 minutes, and Chris is like nudging me. I was sweating like crazy,” he laughs while reenacting wiping his brow.  “I have a newfound respect for the people who do it right.”

Off to MSU’s spring game this week …

about the author

Lisa Byington has worked for BTN, FOX, CBS, Turner, and ESPN. She earned her BSJ and MSJ from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She also played four years of basketball and two years of soccer for the Wildcats.