The news that former Utah football coach Urban Meyer was placed on administrative leave by Ohio State, where he is currently the school's football coach, caught Utah's Kyle Whittingham by surprise Wednesday.
Ohio State placed Meyer on administrative leave while the school investigates allegations that his wife, Shelley Meyer, knew about domestic violence claims against a former Buckeye assistant coach, Zach Smith, years before he was fired last week, the Associated Press reported.
The news broke while Utah was in the middle of its first practice of fall camp.
“I hadn’t heard that. Leave of absence? No, but I am sure I will talk to him in the next little bit, I didn’t hear that. That’s news to me. I’ll have to fill you in on that later if I can,” Whittingham said when asked about Meyer’s situation following practice.
Meyer was head coach at Utah during the 2003 and 2004 seasons, leading the Utes to a 22-2 record and a Bowl Championship Series bid in 2004, where Utah beat Pittsburgh 35-7 in the Fiesta Bowl. He has been the head coach at Florida (2005-10) and Ohio State (2012-present) since then.
"This allows the team to conduct training camp with minimal distraction. I eagerly look forward to the resolution of this matter," Meyer said of the leave of absence, according to the Associated Press.
Whittingham, a Utah assistant from 1994-2004, served as co-head coach with Meyer during the team's Fiesta Bowl win and took over as the Utes’ head coach after Meyer left for Florida.