Dec 12, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer on the sidelines against the Tennessee Titans during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes, there’s nothing better for a football coach’s reputation than some time away from the sidelines. Case in point: Urban Meyer.

The last time we saw the three-time national champion head coach in charge of a team, he had compiled arguably the most disastrous tenure in NFL history, lasting just 13 games into his first and only season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. As was the case during his time at Florida and Ohio State, Meyer was no stranger to controversy in Jacksonville — he just didn’t have the same on-field success he had in Gainesville and Columbus to serve as a convenient perfume.

Fortunately for Meyer, he had a home waiting for him at Fox, where he was a staple of the first two seasons of Big Noon Kickoff before departing for the Jaguars job. Meyer didn’t even make it through his first season back with the show before being linked to the head coaching vacancy at Nebraska — a trend that has now continued with Mel Tucker’s unexpected firing at Michigan State.

Yet despite Meyer’s name repeatedly trending in connection with the Spartans’ opening — and one Fox Sports Radio host insisting he’s interviewing for the job — the Ashtabula, Ohio, native has now issued his first public denial of having any interest in Michigan State.

“About the “reports” linking Urban Meyer to the Michigan State HC job… I just checked with him. There is zero truth to it with him being a candidate for it,” Bruce Feldman of The Athletic and Fox posted to the social media platform X. “He has no interest in that, and is happy with what he’s doing now at Fox Sports.”

It would be hard to imagine Meyer in East Lansing for multiple reasons — not the least of which is that his own controversial track record would make him a tough sell for a program replacing a head coach it fired for allegedly sexually harassing a rape survivor and advocate. Winning might “cure all” — even in college football — but any program that hires Meyer is going to have to be prepared to face the P.R. fallout.

And despite being one of college football’s most successful coaches, the legacy-conscious Meyer would have his work cut out for himself turning around a Michigan State program that — at best — trails behind Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State in the Big Ten, with USC and UCLA on their way. While no one should rule out Meyer’s belief in his own abilities — see: him taking the Jaguars job — it’s tough to believe that this is the job that would lure him back to the sidelines at 59 years old.

Still, despite his denial, Meyer will likely continue to be linked to the Michigan State opening until it is inevitably filled by someone else. And if the past two years have been any indication, this certainly won’t be the last time he’s rumored for a head coaching vacancy as his role on Big Noon Kickoff keeps him in the spotlight while also giving him distance from his disastrous run in Duval.

[Bruce Feldman on X]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.