Urban Meyer and Dan Dakich’s friendship remains strong


PERRYSBURG — Urban Meyer and Dan Dakich’s friendship goes far beyond a pair of former Bowling Green
coaches who just happened to cross paths as Falcons. It runs much deeper.
Dakich found a friend for life when he was the men’s basketball coach and Bowling Green hired Meyer to be
its football coach in 2001.
The two, who do not see each other frequently, reconvened Sunday to play golf and then capped the weekend
helping to raise money for the Autism Society of Northwest Ohio Monday night at the Hilton Garden Inn in
It was a night full of laughter and old stories from the former Bowling Green coaches — cracking numerous
jokes to the 600 people in attendance, which included Falcon supporters, donors and around 25 members of
the Meyer’s 2001-02 football team, including Josh Harris.
“It’s so humbling to be able to come back to Northwest Ohio and drive around Bowling Green State
University and see what those guys built. It was not good a few years ago,” Meyer said.
Since leaving Bowling Green, Meyer has gone on to win three national championships, including last year’s
inaugural College Football Playoff with Ohio State. He has led the Buckeyes to a 38-3 record in his
first three years.
The results all but speak for themselves and Dakich has publicly said that Meyer was the best coach he
has ever seen, “which (ticked) a lot of people in Indiana off,” said Dakich, who played for and was a
longtime assistant under legendary Indiana coach Bob Knight before coming to Bowling Green.
“But as I tell it on my radio show every day, ‘Was I lying? The dude has won three national
championships,’” Dakich said to the laughing audience.
But what Dakich has taken away most from Meyer is his ability to maintain a friendship.
When Meyer moved to Bowling Green, the house he bought sat behind Dakich’s and the families hit it off.
The children became close friends, and when Meyer made the move to coach at Florida after a two-year
stint at Utah, he didn’t forget about Dakich when his run with the Falcons ended.
“When I got fired at Bowling Green, all of the sudden I get a phone call from Urban,” said Dakich, who
coached at BGSU from 1997 to 2007. “He asked how I was doing.”
Meyer had suggested that Dakich make a trip to Florida, just to get away and to visit with then-Florida
men’s basketball coach Billy Donovan. Meyer would be away for a couple days, but it didn’t stop him from
offering Dakich the use of his house and car whenever he needed it.
“Next week another phone call, ‘Hey man just checking on my neighbor,’” Dakich recalled. “Next week
another phone call. I wanted to say, ‘Damn dude, don’t you have other things to do?’
“But I’ve had friends for 50 years that I didn’t hear from when I got fired. I got friends that I didn’t
hear from after I left Indiana. Here’s a guy who was at the top of his profession, here’s a guy who I
didn’t know him great but got to know him as the years went on. But he took time every single week. That
taught me friendship.
“My man, when I was the most down and he was the most up, took time out of his crazy schedule to call a
friend,” Dakich said.
Meyer, now with a championship ring on his left hand that is big enough to put off a blinding glare,
showed his affection for Bowling Green despite having been gone for more than a decade.
He spoke highly of the donors such as Bob Sebo and Mike Wilcox, and even current football coach Dino
Babers. He glowed when talking about his Bowling Green seniors as they filed into the Sebo Athletic
Center for a luncheon Monday afternoon after Meyer played a round of golf at Toledo Country Club. It’s
almost as if he had never left as he reminisced throughout the night.
“I love these guys,” Meyer said. “They’re my peoples and they’ll forever be my peoples.
“It was a great time of our life. Our kids still call this home.”
Friends can’t be friends without cracking jokes at each other. Dakich made sure to make light of Meyer’s
highly-publicized quarterback situation heading into the 2015 season.
Ohio State’s leader has three quarterbacks to choose from in Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett and Braxton
Dakich joked, while introducing Meyer to the crowd, that he received three letters Monday morning at the
hotel and was instructed not to open the letters until his speech at the fundraiser.
“So I have not looked at these, I have no idea what they say,” Dakich said, proceeding to open an
The first read, “Coach, those other two guys suck. Start me. —Cardale Jones.”
The next, “Coach, I saved your (butt) last year. Start me. —J.T. Barrett.”
And the final, “Coach, you came here because I’m a Heisman Trophy candidate, you said so. Start me, screw
them. —Braxton Miller.”
The letters drew hearty laughs from the crowd and Meyer. It was just old friends being themselves. Guys
being guys. And from the looks of it, that type of thing will never end between Meyer and Dakich.
“He could ask me to dig ditches, he can ask me to do anything and I’ll do it for him,” Dakich said. “He’s
been such a good friend.”

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