Before handing the reins of the Ohio State football program over to Ryan Day, Urban Meyer said he warned Day about the importance of beating Michigan.
The new coach of the Buckeyes isn’t waiting until November.
On Tuesday, Day hired Michigan linebackers coach Al Washington to handle the same job at Ohio State, raiding the coaching staff in Ann Arbor for the second time in as many days.
“Al Washington is going to be a terrific addition to our coaching staff,” Day said via a team release. “I’ve known him as player and as a coach and I know his family very well. I think his familiarity with this region as a coach and as a recruiter is going to be very impactful, as will his leadership with our linebackers unit.”
A Columbus Bishop Watterson grad and the son of a former Ohio State linebacker, Washington also coordinated the Michigan special teams last season.
He is a 12-year coaching veteran who played defensive end at Boston College from 2002-05.
Day was a graduate assistant is Chestnut Hill for two of those seasons, and their paths crossed again when Day was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Eagles in 2013 and ’14.
Washington coached running backs at BC from 2013-15, part of a tenure that lasted five years overall at his alma mater.
Most of his time has been spent coaching the defensive line, but he oversaw the linebackers in Ann Arbor and during a season at Cincinnati, where he worked under longtime Ohio State assistant and fellow Columbus native Luke Fickell in 2017.
Washington’s star pupil at Michigan was Devin Bush, who earned All-America honors and was named the Big Ten’s linebacker and defensive player of the year last season.
Ohio State linebacking is in the blood for Washington, whose father, Al Washington Sr., wore the Scarlet and Gray from 1977-80 and remains No. 8 on the school’s all-time tackles list with 345.
The hire of the younger Washington comes one day after Day hired Michigan defensive line coach Greg Mattison, who is set to share defensive coordinator duties with Jeff Hafley.
While Day has hired three new assistants on the defensive side of the ball (and promoted defensive line coach Larry Johnson to associate head coach), two member’s of Meyer’s last staff are known to be moving on.
Day announced on Tuesday evening Greg Schiano, the primary defensive coordinator for the Buckeyes the past two seasons, intends to find a new job in the NFL.
“I want to think coach Greg Schiano for the example he set every day, for the players and the members this coaching staff, of what it means to be selfless, committed and dedicated,” Day wrote on social media. “Our players saw these attributes in Greg and they learned from his example. I personally also want to think Greg for his wisdom and thoughtful guidance during my team as active head coach (in August and September). I wish him the best as he pursues options in the NFL.”
Shortly before the hiring of Washington was made official, his predecessor in Columbus announced he was leaving.
“Following a great season going 13-1 and winning our second Big Ten championship, my family and I took a few days to discuss our future,” Bill Davis wrote on social media. “We are grateful for our time at The Ohio State University and have enjoyed being a part of Buckeye Nation as well as as an elite group of players and staff.
“After passing on previous opportunities, we have decided to return to the NFL. Coach Day and I have mutually agreed he should plan his staff without me.”
Davis, Ohio State’s linebackers coach the last two seasons, worked for various NFL teams from 1992-2015 before Meyer brought him back to the college game in 2017.