Urban Meyer's wife, Shelley, recently visited Austin to assess the real estate situation, Austonia has learned. Does that mean it's time for coaching legend Urban to ride into Austin and take the reins from his former assistant coach Tom Herman?
After a second consecutive season of missing the Big 12 Championship, Texas fans have been clamoring for the job of fourth year Head Coach Herman. Everything is bigger in Texas, including expectations.
Tom Herman We want you out right now. I have plenty of boxes to help you pack. Signed, All Longhorn fans… https://t.co/49XqRT22Th— Trent Giesen (@Trent Giesen)1606509372.0
Meyer in, Herman out
Herman joined the Longhorns in 2016 after taking the Houston Cougars to two bowl games, including winning the Peach Bowl in 2015. Texas fans loved Herman's pedagogy.
A former assistant to Meyer, Longhorn fans thought they finally found a coach that could pick up where former head coach Mack Brown left off. Herman had success calling plays for Ohio State and Houston, so the Texas fan base was expecting an offense that would keep them in the national conversion.
What fans did not expect was only one 10 win season four years in.
Meyer on the other hand is known for winning, and winning quickly. After winning two National Championships in five years at Florida with Heisman-winning quarterback Tim Tebow—a player Sam Ehlinger has been compared to—Urban jumped ship to coach at Ohio State.
While there, Meyer added another championship to his collection in 2014. He never won fewer than 10 games in a season with the Buckeyes, including a 4-2 Bowl Game record. This is the success that many fans expected from Herman's time at Texas.
There are some contributing factors to Herman's failure. Head Coach Lincoln Riley's rise at Oklahoma has put a boot on the necks of the rest of the conference with Oklahoma winning the conference every year since Riley has taken over. Herman is 1-4 against Oklahoma in his time at Texas.
For comparison, Meyer at Ohio State had a perfect record against rival Michigan, 7-0.
It also didn't help that Herman had to rely so heavily on quarterback Sam Ehlinger due to injuries to other key players during his time at the helm.
Meyer had to deal with a similar problem when multiple starters went down and Ohio State had to play three different starting quarterbacks. The difference is that Ohio State won a National Championship that season.
Herman is not a bad coach. He’s middle tier at this point. This is gonna be a very unpopular take after that, but i… https://t.co/IgnfoETT2g— Will Baizer (@Will Baizer)1606511197.0
Then there was the Zack Smith controversy that ultimately cost Meyer his job at Ohio State and added confusion for Texas fans trying to figure out if and when Herman knew anything about the alleged abuse.
Herman's loss Friday adds to his track record of disappointing UT fans.
The likelihood of the replacement
Texas has a big choice ahead of them. Herman signed a two year extension after the Longhorns won 10 games and the Sugar Bowl over Georgia in 2018. The program would be stuck with a $15 million dollar bill as part of the buyout if they fired Herman after this season. While one of the richest public universities in the country could afford it, any time a program is signing a check that big it's through clenched teeth. But that might be what's necessary.
Programs like University of Southern California and Michigan, both with deep pockets of their own, are going to be hunting for a new head coach soon after both of their last hires have turned out to be duds. If Texas wants to win the race, they can't lag behind other competing schools.
Add into the equation that Meyer has been known to suffer from health conditions that have prevented him from finishing his contracts at his two previous coaching stops. At Florida, Meyer cited that he wanted to "spend more time with his family" after suffering from chest and heart issues, only a year after taking his "dream job" at Ohio State.
Meyer retired again from Ohio State in 2018 after being diagnosed with a non-life threatening cyst located on the membrane of his brain. It should be noted however, that at both coaching stops Meyer left the program dealing with some pretty large issues. At Florida, it was allegations of drug use among players and at Ohio State it was the allegations of domestic violence and assault among players and coaches alike.
This month, talk of bringing Meyer to UT's family grew, especially on social media. UT fans want Meyer over any other potential name.
FIRE HERMAN HIRE URBAN— Mike 🤘 (@Mike 🤘)1606677189.0
UT can't make the same mistake they made in 2013 when the program moved off of Brown. The program at the time was looking for direction and tried to reel in the biggest fish in the pond: Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban.
While Saban was rumored to be looking for houses in the Austin area last year, he ultimately decided to take the raise from Alabama and won two more championships. Instead, Texas hired Head Coach Charlie Strong from Louisville which turned out to be one of the worst hires the program made with Strong finishing his time at Texas with a 16-21 record.
The thing most Longhorns fans are missing, however, is would Meyer want to leave his current job at Fox Sports where he has gained attention as being one of the best in studio analysts? Would Meyer want to recruit a state that already has political lines drawn? Where high school coaches direct their players to and away from certain schools and where other coaches like Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M, Dabo Swinney at Clemson and Nick Saban already have connections?
The problems at Texas won't go away with a snap of the fingers. If the Longhorns want to make a change, it's going to have to be decisive and fans are going to have to give the new coach something they didn't give the old one. Patience.
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Texas Longhorns linebacker Jake Ehlingers' death this spring was the result of an accidental drug overdose, according to a statement by the late student's family.
According to the statement, the 20-year-old University of Texas student and Westlake High grad overdosed on pills believed to be Xanax laced with Fentanyl, an often-deadly combo that has resulted in thousands of accidental fatalities nationwide.
Ehlinger was found dead off campus May 6 in a tragedy that shook the Austin and UT community, as well as Ehlinger's family, including his brother, former UT quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who now plays for the NFL's Indianapolis Colts.
An honorable mention All-State player and district defensive MVP while in high school, Ehlinger followed in his brother's footsteps and continued his football career as a walk-on at UT. He was also a sophomore in finance, a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and a member of the Texas Silver Spurs, a student organization that cares for beloved mascot Bevo the Longhorn.
Counterfeit Xanax pills have caused an increasing number of fatalities in the area with 1,000 deaths related to synthetic opioids in the state in 2020. Drug dealers have begun stuffing fentanyl, an opiod that the DEA said can be up to 60 times more deadly than heroin, into pills resembling the prescription anti-anxiety medication and selling them to unwitting customers.
"The spread of counterfeit pills is an ongoing and significant issue throughout our country, particularly in schools, colleges and universities," the the Ehlinger family said in a statement. "As our family continues to process Jake's death, we felt it was important to share these details with the hope that Jake will not have died in vain. We pray that sharing Jake's story will help shed light on this problem and prevent other families from also tragically losing a loved one."
To combat the surge of deaths, Austin police now have access to a supply of Narcan, a drug that can combat the effects of an opiod overdose. Though it's not mandatory, APD officers can now check out supplies of the drug when responding to calls. The department had almost completed training on the drug by June, according to a KXAN report.
"You can talk to a number of families that have had family members die because of opioid overdoses and if this was an option to help their loved one or save their loved one, I'm sure that every single one of them would tell you that it was incredibly important that we now have this incredible tool in our tool belt," Assistant Chief Scott Perry said in the report.
Ehlinger is remembered by his brother, Sam, his mother Jena, his sister Morgen and the University of Texas community. Ehlinger's father, Ross, died of an apparent heart attack while swimming in a triathlon in 2013.
"(Jake) was his dad's little buddy, and they shared an unbreakable bond," Jake's obituary read. "His father's spirit was alive and well in every part of Jake's life. Tragic life circumstances created a unique opportunity for Sam and Jake to uplift and empower each other. They were each other's biggest fans. Their mother, Jena, as well as their sister, Morgen, were the loves of Jake's life. Everyone will miss his giant hugs, but no one more than Jena and Morgen."
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Eight of the world's best Brazilian jiu-jitsu athletes flew into Austin in September to be in the new hub for the sport. But after over a decade of fighting together, they'll no longer be under the same name.
The legendary Danaher Death Squad, which started in 2007 and was led by black belt John Danaher, made a highly-publicized split in late July while in Puerto Rico, with Danaher, legend Gordon Ryan and teammate Gary Tonon announcing the aptly-titled "New Wave Jiu Jitsu" as their new studio to open soon in Austin.
Missing from the new roster were former teammates Craig Jones, Ethan Crelinstein, Nick Rodriguez and even Ryan's younger brother, Nicky Ryan. The new crew announced that day that they would also be forming a new studio with the tongue-in-cheek title "B Team Jiu Jitsu."
Jiu jitsu greats Craig Jones (left) and Gordon Ryan have opened rival studios in Austin.
Both teams chose to move to Austin, a hotbed for the sport that the B Team's Seth Belisle said is becoming a "mecca for jiu-jitsu." With plenty of renowned studios, jiu-jitsu enthusiasts like Joe Rogan coming into town and the presence of Flo Grappling, the sport's premier media outlet, Belisle said there's now "more jiu-jitsu here than anywhere in the world."
While Belisle, an Austin native, handles the business side for the crew, the team's coaching is headed by Jones, a leopard-print wearing Aussie who has been known to sport assless chaps and places importance on the lighter side of things (the studio advertises that they train "Mexican ground karate," a name they created for jiu-jitsu).
Rumors abound about the famed fighters' breakup, including money issues in the Ryan family or a well-rehearsed PR stunt, but Jones told Austonia that the split of the Death Squad simply comes down to personal differences between the fighters.
"It wasn't an amicable breakup at all," Jones said. "What Gordan represents is quite controversial... I would say there would be no line he wouldn't cross to promote a grappling match. So in that sense, we're sort of focused on a different, more positive sort of vibe."
B Team and New Wave alike are opening at a critical time for jiu-jitsu, as the sport slowly becomes a household name. Now, top fighters can make a living from their sport while still maintaining a much lower profile than MMA fighters or boxers.
That name recognition and B Team's positive attitude drew in droves of new trainees, with many opting to move to Austin solely to train at B Team.
"Jiu-jitsu is a relatively new sport," Belisle said. "If you love basketball, it's impossible for you to say, 'I'm going to go play with LeBron James and learn from him this weekend... in jiu-jitsu, that's possible. You have access to the stars of the sport because it hasn't really blown up yet. It's something special."
After an open house that saw over 150 athletes show up, the team realized they needed to become more exclusive. Now, the studio trains only the "Olympians" of the sport, something that sets them apart from other local studios. They also frequently bring in celebrities of the sport for training sessions, including famed female fighter Ffion Eira Davies.
"We're obviously a new gym, but we're probably some of the best guys in the world," Jones said.
Meanwhile, New Wave is training at the famed Renzo Gracie Studio, Danaher's former trainer, as they wait for a new studio.
Will the world's two best teams soon have showdowns in the Texas capital?
While it's unclear whether or not things will get personal (no brother vs. brother matchup is on the horizon), trainees under each studio went head-to-head for the first time Wednesday as New Wave's Gordon Ryan announced his first match out of semi-retirement. Ryan, often lauded as the best grappler in the world, forced UFC fighter Phillip Rowe to submit four times in the 15-minute friendly exhibition match at Austin's Palmer Events Center.
But Rowe, who was first a jiu-jitsu athlete before switching to UFC, said he didn't know about the beef and was just looking to train under his favorite athletes, Jones and Rodriguez.
He competed for a few reasons—including a break from UFC and a chance to give BJJ a bigger name—but he mostly came into town for the fun of it. Ryan and Rowe talked often prior to the meet, with Rowe gifting Ryan a Bumpboxx, or decorated boombox, in honor of Ryans' father. The respect was mutual—Ryan shouted out Rowe after the match for coming out with a broken hand and the death of some loved ones a week prior.
The match was the first indirect competition between the two gyms. Jones said they won't be training with the goal of fighting any of their former New Wave compadres.
"I don't know what's going to happen ultimately," Jones said. "Because obviously, we're not friendly as it is right now, but I mean. I wouldn't go so far as to train someone that was going to compete against them directly."
But with B Team fighters like Nick Rodriguez expressing their interest in fighting in the future and both gyms training for the WNO Championships in 2022, it's almost inevitable that the former teammates will find themselves on either side of the mat sooner or later.
"'I'd be lying if I said that every day since I started jiu-jitsu my goal is to beat Gordon. I'd be lying if I was saying that isn't true," Rodriguez told the Jason Chambers podcast. "My goal is to be the best grappler in the world and nothing less. That's an old teammate that I have to go through to knock him out and get to the top, then that's fine with me."
Atop one of Austin's signature rolling hilltops, 1501 Ridgecrest Drive is similar to one of the plush palaces that one might find in Calabasas. For $10.9 million, the home has four bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms and caps at 10,498 square feet.
Park in the massive, fully air-conditioned garage before walking in, where you'll have eight full spaces to park your collection of cars. If you're not a collector, the garage makes an excellent studio space.
The wide-open living spaces will draw your eyes to the two-story ceilings, glass catwalk, integrated fireplace and wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the pool.
Though the house was built in 2011, it doesn't show its age. Sleek, clean lines lead seamlessly from the formal living area to an elite open-plan kitchen. Separated by a 25-foot waterfall island that can seat at least eight people, the kitchen is fitted with only the finest Miele and Subzero appliances. The custom cabinets are just as pricey as the rest of the place, finished with custom high-gloss Aston Martin (you read that right) paint.
Upstairs in the sprawling master's suite, there are enough amenities to never have to set foot outside again. Armani tile floors, space for living and a walk-in showcase closet lead into the resort-style bathroom, where you'll find dual vanities, a walk-in shower and a lounging bathtub.
The bedroom is a quick elevator trip away from the "party" room, complete with a bar, wine room and movie theater, only the best for entertaining. If your guests are staying over, rest assured they'll be comfortable with the kitchenette, washer and dryer and spa-like bath in their suite.
Though summer has passed, you can still enjoy the grand lap pool's unobstructed Hill Country views, many private lounging areas, grill a homemade snack at the outdoor kitchen or shoot some hoops at the newly-added court.
The listing is held by Compass' Gary Dolch.
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