Ryan Day’s appearance in Manchester focused on young people’s mental health

March 16 – RYAN DAY has learned something useful from each of the notable coaches he has played with and worked with since joining the soccer coaching staff.

The common lesson the Ohio State University football coach and Manchester native learned from them was the importance of building relationships and communication with your players.

“Win and lose and competitiveness and all of that is huge obviously when you’re playing,” Day said Thursday at an appearance at Manchester’s Boys & Girls Club, “but it’s also the humanistic part of it and building those relationships and helping them later in life, which all these coaches did for me.”

Day played football for Jim Schubert and basketball for Mike Fitzpatrick at Manchester Central. As a halfback at the University of New Hampshire, Day played one season for Bill Bowes and three seasons for Sean McDonnell and McDonnell’s assistant coach Chip Kelly.

Day began his coaching career in 2002 as the UNH tight end coach on McDonnell’s team and later served on Kelly’s coaching staff with the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers. Before succeeding Urban Meyer as Ohio State’s head coach in 2019, he spent two seasons on Meyer’s offensive coaching staff and previously served as a graduate assistant on Meyer’s 2005 University of Florida staff.

During his speech, which focused on the importance of youth mental health, Day told a story about Harry Miller, a former Ohio State lineman.

“One day, he (Miller) came into my office and told me he was in a dark place and wanted to end his life,” said Day, who lost his father to suicide at a young age. “We immediately took him to our psychiatrist and our professionals, and over the next year he got the treatment he needed.”

Day said Ohio State has instituted a “circle of care” program that focuses on 12 areas players need to maximize, one of which is mental health. Players have access to a physiatrist, two sports counselors and two sports psychologists, Day said.

Day and his wife, Nina, last summer established The Christina and Ryan Day Fund for Pediatric and Adolescent Mental Wellness through Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Day, who will begin his fifth year leading the Buckeyes next fall, said he and his wife want to be a part of improving mental health care in Manchester and New Hampshire.

“As we’ve learned, one of the best ways to do this is by talking,” Day said during his speech. “The more people talk to friends and loved ones about mental illness, the easier it becomes to recognize their own struggles and understand other people’s struggles, and more conversations lead to less isolation and fear.”

Day and the Buckeyes are off this week as part of the school’s spring break, but they’re back in spring practice next week. The team had two practices last week and will have 12 more before their annual spring game on April 15.

Some of the team’s focuses this spring, Day said, are identifying who will fill starting positions on the offensive line, secondary and a starting quarterback to replace CJ Stroud, who is heading to the NFL. Day considers Stroud a quarterback for the franchise and said he would choose Stroud as the #1 overall pick in next month’s NFL Draft.

Acclimating Ohio State’s 11 freshmen and eight transfers to the culture of the program is also important, Day said.

“Usually what we think of in the spring is we’re trying to improve individually,” Day said. “Then when we came back in the preseason, we started to really come together as offense, defense and special teams.”

Day also added Mike Dawson, with whom he coached on McDonnell’s UNH team, to his staff as a defensive analyst this week. Dawson spent four of the last five seasons as an outside linebacker coach at Nebraska and the other with the New York Giants in the same role. At UNH from 2000-05, Dawson spent seasons as McDonnell’s linebackers coach, offensive line coach and defensive coordinator.

Dawson and Day also worked together on Kelly’s team with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015.

“I think it’s just another piece on the defensive end that can really help us as we go into conference games and some of those big games,” Day said of adding Dawson. “You want to have as many good minds as possible in that room and he’s one of them.”

When the team breaks up after spring, Day said recruiting and building relationships with his current and new players are big parts of his offseason. With the single-transfer rule in the NCAA now, he said, it forced coaches to stick with what they preach during the recruiting process, because otherwise players have the option to leave.

There were several people in the packed house for Day’s speech at the Boys and Girls Club wearing scarlet and gray or hoodies embroidered with the Ohio State logo. Day has said throughout her career that she has always felt great support at home.

The event, Day said, was a great opportunity to bring together people who care about the well-being of children.

“It’s great to be around great people who care about youth,” said Day. “That’s what we’re doing as coaches, administrators, teachers and today was just a great opportunity to bring people together and help young people.”

[email protected]

Ryan Day’s appearance in Manchester focused on young people’s mental health

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top