University of New Hampshire football coach Sean McDonnell said he wasn’t surprised Manchester Central graduate Ryan Day was selected to replace Urban Meyer as Ohio State’s head coach.
Day, who was a three-year starter at quarterback for McDonnell at UNH, will take over for Meyer, who announced Dec. 4 that he will retire after Ohio State plays Washington in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1. It will be Day’s first full-time head-coaching job.
“First of all I’m really happy for him,” McDonnell said. “Really proud of him. Not surprised though.
“He’s been working to this point by being a successful coach, a successful teacher – everything he’s done he’s been a success at. He’s one of the most competitive guys I’ve ever been around and I’ve watched him grow. Every time you see him, he’s better at what he’s doing than the time before.”
According to multiple reports, including one on the Ohio State athletics website, Day was given a five-year contract that will pay him $4.5 million each year.
Day, 39, became UNH’s starting quarterback in 1999, McDonnell’s first year as the program’s head coach and Chip Kelly’s first year as the team’s offensive coordinator.
Day is ranked third in the program’s history in pass attempts (1,089) and fourth in both passing yards (7,670) and completions (653).
As a senior captain in 2001, Day established career highs with 233 completions (No. 9 in school history), 379 attempts (No. 8) and 2,605 passing yards (No. 10). He holds the school record for most pass attempts in a game (65), which was set during the 2000 season when he helped rally the Wildcats from a 31-3 third-quarter deficit to a 45-44 overtime victory at No. 2 Delaware.
After graduating from UNH in 2002, Day began his college coaching career as the tight ends coach at his alma mater. His coaching resume includes stints as an assistant coach at the following schools: Boston College (2003-04; 2007-11; 2012-14), Florida (2005) and Temple (2006; 2012). He was a grad assistant under Meyer at Florida.
Day also worked as an assistant coach under Kelly with the Philadelphia Eagles (2015) and San Francisco 49ers (2016) before he became the co-offensive coordinator/QB coach at Ohio State in 2017.
He served as Ohio State’s interim head coach for the first three games of the 2018 season while Meyer was serving a three-game suspension. The Buckeyes went 3-0 in those games, which included a victory at TCU.
“He’s been in places that prepared him for this and with people who prepared him for this,” McDonnell said. “He was with Addazio (Temple and Boston College coach Steve Addazio) and with Florida before Chip hired him with the Eagles and San Francisco. And look what he did in the first three games this season. He’s been preparing himself for this.”
Day passed for 4,099 yards and threw 57 touchdown passes during his high school career at Central. He was named New Hampshire’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 1996.
“He’s a New Hampshire guy through and through, from Manchester Central to UNH,” McDonnell said. “Now he’s at one of the top programs in the country.”