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Ryan Day: The Man Behind Ohio State's Championship Seasons
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Ryan Day is an American football coach and former college football player, currently serving as the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes since 2019. Under his leadership, Ohio State has achieved significant success, including multiple Big Ten championships and College Football Playoff appearances, solidifying his reputation as one of the top coaches in collegiate football.

Early Life and High School Achievements

nytimes.com
nytimes.com
Ryan Day was born on March 12, 1979, in Manchester, New Hampshire. He attended Manchester Central High School, where he excelled as a quarterback and defensive back, earning the title of New Hampshire Gatorade Player of the Year in 1996. Day's early football prowess set the stage for his collegiate career at the University of New Hampshire, where he played quarterback and linebacker from 1998 to 2001, setting multiple school records under the guidance of offensive coordinator Chip Kelly.
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Ryan Day's Early Coaching Positions

en.wikipedia.org
en.wikipedia.org
Ryan Day began his coaching career at the University of New Hampshire as a tight ends coach in 2002. He then moved on to serve as a graduate assistant at Boston College from 2003 to 2004 and at the University of Florida in 2005. Day's next role was as the wide receivers coach at Temple in 2006, followed by a five-year stint in the same position at Boston College from 2007 to 2011. He returned to Temple in 2012 as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach, leading an offense that set multiple school records. Day then served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Boston College from 2013 to 2014, where his offenses were among the best in the ACC and nationally recognized for their rushing prowess.
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Day's NFL Coaching Experience

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Ryan Day's NFL coaching experience, though brief, provided him with valuable insights and skills that have contributed to his success at Ohio State. Day's NFL journey began in 2015 when he joined the Philadelphia Eagles as the quarterbacks coach under head coach Chip Kelly. This role allowed him to work closely with professional athletes and understand the intricacies of NFL-level playbooks and strategies. Following his stint with the Eagles, Day moved to the San Francisco 49ers in 2016, again serving as the quarterbacks coach under Kelly. These positions in the NFL were crucial in honing his offensive strategies and understanding of high-level football operations. Day's time in the NFL also exposed him to the rigorous demands and fast-paced environment of professional football, which has influenced his coaching style and approach at Ohio State. His experience working with NFL quarterbacks has been particularly beneficial in developing college quarterbacks, contributing to the success of players like Dwayne Haskins and Justin Fields, who have transitioned to the NFL. This blend of NFL and collegiate coaching experience has equipped Day with a unique perspective, enabling him to effectively bridge the gap between college and professional football.
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Impact of Chip Kelly on Day's Career

elevenwarriors.com
elevenwarriors.com
Chip Kelly has had a profound impact on Ryan Day's career, serving as both a mentor and a collaborator. Their relationship began at the University of New Hampshire, where Kelly was Day's offensive coordinator and later his colleague. This mentorship continued as Day followed Kelly to the NFL, working as the quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers under Kelly's leadership. Kelly's innovative offensive strategies and coaching philosophy significantly influenced Day, shaping his approach to the game. Their professional paths have intertwined multiple times, culminating in Kelly joining Day's staff at Ohio State as the offensive coordinator, a move that promises to enhance the Buckeyes' offensive prowess.
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Ryan's Achievements and Records

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Ryan Day has achieved significant milestones and set numerous records during his tenure as the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes. Below is a detailed list of his accomplishments:
  • Team Success:
    • Ohio State has a 56-8 overall record and a 39-3 record in Big Ten play under Day's leadership as of 2023.
    • The team has won back-to-back Big Ten championships in 2019 and 2020 and has made multiple College Football Playoff appearances.
    • Day's teams have consistently ranked among the top in the nation in both offense and defense, including being No. 1 in total offense and scoring offense in 2021.
  • Player Development:
    • Day has coached 18 first-team All-Americans and numerous Big Ten award winners, including six consecutive Big Ten Quarterback of the Year honorees and five consecutive Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honorees.
    • He has developed several NFL Draft picks, including nine first-round selections, with notable players like Dwayne Haskins, Justin Fields, and C.J. Stroud.
    • In 2019, he coached two Heisman Trophy finalists, Justin Fields and Chase Young, and the first 2,000-yard running back in school history, J.K. Dobbins.
  • Academic Success:
    • Day's teams have excelled academically, setting program records for the number of OSU Scholar-Athletes (61 in 2020-21) and Academic All-Big Ten honorees (46 in 2021).
    • Ohio State football achieved its highest-ever Academic Progress Rate score of 993 for the 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21, and 2021-22 academic years.
These achievements highlight Ryan Day's effectiveness in both coaching and developing his players, as well as his commitment to academic excellence.
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Coaching Record Overview

Ryan Day has compiled an impressive coaching record at Ohio State, marked by significant achievements and notable performances against ranked opponents. Below is a detailed breakdown of his coaching record:
CategoryRecord
Overall Record56-8
Big Ten Record39-3
Bowl Record2-4
College Football Playoff Record1-3
Record vs. Top 25 Teams17-8
Record vs. Top 10 Teams8-7
Record vs. Top 5 Teams2-5
Day's tenure includes two Big Ten championships (2019, 2020) and three College Football Playoff appearances, underscoring his success in both conference and national competitions.
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Michigan Rivalry Challenges

Ryan Day Full Press Conference after 45-23 loss to No. 3 Michigan
Ryan Day Full...
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Ryan Day has faced significant challenges during his tenure as Ohio State's head coach, particularly in the high-stakes rivalry against Michigan. Despite an impressive overall record, Day's 1-3 record against the Wolverines has drawn criticism, with comparisons to former coach John Cooper, who also struggled against Michigan. The rivalry's intensity was further amplified by a sign-stealing scandal involving Michigan, which led to heightened tensions and accusations between the two programs. Day's emotional responses to criticism, such as his reaction to comments from former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz, highlight the pressure he faces to prove his team's toughness and capability.
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Ryan Day's Contract Extension and Goals

aol.com
aol.com
Ryan Day received a two-year contract extension in 2022, extending his tenure as Ohio State's head coach through the 2028 season. This extension includes a significant raise, increasing his annual compensation to $9.5 million, making him one of the highest-paid college football coaches in the country. Day's goals for the Buckeyes remain ambitious: he aims to defeat Michigan, win the Big Ten Championship, and secure a national championship. His leadership has already led to multiple Big Ten titles and College Football Playoff appearances, and the new contract reflects the university's confidence in his ability to achieve these objectives.
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Recruiting Class Highlights

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Ryan Day's recruiting prowess has been a cornerstone of his success at Ohio State. His ability to attract top-tier talent is evident in the consistently high-ranking recruiting classes, including the 2024 class, which he discussed with enthusiasm, highlighting the importance of cultural fit and long-term development. Day's strategic approach to recruiting, combined with his adaptability in leveraging the transfer portal, ensures that the Buckeyes remain competitive at the highest levels of college football. His focus on acquiring talent that aligns with the team's values and goals has been instrumental in maintaining Ohio State's status as a powerhouse in the sport.
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Personal Life and Advocacy

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Ryan Day and his wife, Nina, are passionate advocates for mental health, driven by personal experiences with mental illness. Ryan lost his father to suicide, and Nina has struggled with anxiety throughout her life. Their advocacy efforts include the creation of the Christina and Ryan Day Fund for Pediatric and Adolescent Mental Wellness in collaboration with Nationwide Children's Hospital, focusing on raising awareness and providing resources for children's mental health. Additionally, they established a $1 million Mental Health Resilience Fund at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center, aimed at supporting college-aged individuals and fostering resilience. Their contributions have been instrumental in initiating conversations about mental health, reducing stigma, and promoting research and resources to address mental health challenges
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Final Thoughts

atozsports.com
atozsports.com
Ryan Day's tenure as the head coach of Ohio State has been marked by a blend of strategic acumen, adaptability, and a commitment to both athletic and academic excellence. His ability to navigate the complexities of modern college football, including the transfer portal and NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) regulations, has kept Ohio State at the forefront of the sport. Day's recruiting strategies, which emphasize cultural fit and long-term development, have consistently yielded top-tier talent, ensuring the Buckeyes remain competitive on a national level. Day's leadership extends beyond the field, as evidenced by his advocacy for mental health and his efforts to foster a supportive environment for his players. His personal experiences have driven him to champion mental wellness initiatives, making a significant impact both within and outside the Ohio State community. This holistic approach to coaching underscores his dedication to the well-being and development of his players as individuals. Despite facing challenges, such as the intense rivalry with Michigan and the pressures of maintaining a top-tier program, Day has demonstrated resilience and a forward-thinking mindset. His contract extension through 2028 reflects the university's confidence in his vision and leadership, as he continues to pursue ambitious goals, including Big Ten championships and national titles. In summary, Ryan Day's tenure at Ohio State is characterized by his strategic recruiting, commitment to player development, and advocacy for mental health. His ability to adapt to the evolving landscape of college football while maintaining high standards of excellence positions him as a leading figure in the sport.
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