Ryan Day isnâ€™t from the Cradle of Coaches. Moreover, he doesnâ€™t trace much in the way of coaching roots to the state of Ohio until plucked from the NFL by Urban Meyer scarcely two years ago.
But damn if Day isnâ€™t quickly carving his own niche with the lifeblood of the stateâ€™s football: High school coaches.
Ditto for Dayâ€™s staff as well.
â€œItâ€™s genuine, itâ€™s authentic; not something he feels like heâ€™s supposed to do,â€ said Mark Solis, coach of powerhouse Olentangy High School in Lewis Center. â€œIâ€™ve met coaches like him, not here, but around the country, where you felt like you were almost a hindrance to them, so to speak.
â€œHeâ€™s genuine in his sincerity in wanting to be involved to see what he can help us out with at the high-school level.â€
The Buckeyes already are positioning themselves to help their future cause as they own a trio of in-state commitments from offensive linemen, the type of guys who can one day grow into the scarlet-collar face of the program.
One of those is Trey Leroux, the 6-foot-8 specimen from Norwalk. The others are Jakob James of Cincinnati Elder and highly coveted five-star Paris Johnson of Princeton.
â€œIt obviously shows theyâ€™re really focusing on finding the best players in Ohio that they can, shows a lot about the program,â€ Norwalkâ€™s Todd Fox told Lettermen Row of Dayâ€™s in-state approach through six months. â€œAnd theyâ€™re still looking for the best players in nation, but it seems like maybe theyâ€™re combing our state a little bit more than maybe in years past.
â€œThere are some great linemen here in this state and great players to boot. Maybe sometimes they donâ€™t stick out on paper because theyâ€™re not at all the showcases, but theyâ€™ve done a nice job.â€
Not too long ago and somewhat unsolicited, Day showed up to a Central District Football Coaches Association meeting. Day wasnâ€™t speaking and he wasnâ€™t otherwise obligated to mingle with the regionâ€™s grass-roots leaders.
He just did it. Think that wonâ€™t resonate?
â€œRyan has been very proactive in reaching out,â€ Solis said. â€œIâ€™m vice president of our Central Ohio Coaches Association, and we had a meeting where he came out. He didnâ€™t have to come, and he came out on his own accord.
â€œHe shared some thoughts with us about his transition as head coach and how he wants to get involved.â€
Day even offered, Solis explained, to help the stateâ€™s prep coaches in their quest to garner some additional spring time with their players.
â€œHe wants to help us as weâ€™re pushing to get some opportunities to work with our kids in May that we donâ€™t have right now,â€ said Solis, who also praised the retention of Mark Pantoni for keeping Ohio State’s recruiting success ongoing. â€œHeâ€™s been very forthright. â€˜How can I help? What can I do?â€™â€
It isnâ€™t just Day but also his couple of staff holdovers and the new guard of Buckeyes coaches.
â€œThe whole staffâ€™s been great as well,â€ Solis said. â€œI had the opportunity to sit in on some meetings during spring ball with Coach Day and his staff. Kevin Wilsonâ€™s son is on our team. Iâ€™ve been fortunate that Iâ€™ve had those opportunities afforded to me, and Coach Day has been very, very approachable. Everything from philosophy to talking ball, heâ€™s been great.â€
Like Solis, Fox sees Day erasing any outsider status.
â€œJust sitting back for him, and I think in the beginning it was such a tough situation,” Fox said. “You never want to follow a situation where someone was that successful [as Meyer] and thereâ€™s nothing negative to say [about transition], but heâ€™s done a nice job. Coach Day, he himself will contact coaches like myself, check on recruits. Not being an Ohio person originally, heâ€™s making sure heâ€™s covering his bases.
â€œI know the coaches association are really happy for his connection. For Coach Meyer, it was kind of natural, but for Coach Day heâ€™s continuing that and is maybe more intentional.â€
The coaches know not every Ohio prospect will be a natural fit for Day and the Buckeyes; thatâ€™s OK. This staffâ€™s approach is early on leaving everyone on the same page.
â€œHeâ€™s just very transparent,â€ Fox said. â€œItâ€™s a business and we understand that, but heâ€™s been very transparent of expectations, our what our guys need to do. Heâ€™s been, with Trey, very transparent.
â€œThe final day before Trey committed, Coach Day told him, â€˜Be 100-percent sure.â€™ This offer is for you, but youâ€™ve got my blessings to make sure itâ€™s what you want. That transparency is not always common in all the programs we work through.Â Itâ€™s nice to see Coach Dayâ€™s approach and work here in the early going of making it his program.â€
Ryan Day may have been born outside of it, but he’s fitting seamlessly into the renowned Cradle of Coaches.