Before he was a two-time national champion, Urban Meyer cut his teeth as the wide receivers coach at Notre Dame. And while the current Buckeyes head coach doesn’t hear “no” often on the recruiting trail, one of his biggest misses came when he failed to convince LeBron James to take his talents to South Bend.
Although to be completely fair, Meyer never really stood a chance.
After James put together a stellar sophomore season as a wide receiver at Akron, Ohio’s, St. Vincent-St. Mary in 2000, Meyer extended him a scholarship offer. But as it turned out, the then-Notre Dame assistant was unaware of his target’s talents elsewhere.
“‘Thank you very much, I’ll consider it,’ and his coach started laughing,” said Meyer, recalling James’ response to his scholarship offer. “I didn’t know what he was laughing at, so we went down and sat in a room and he said, ‘Do you know who that is?’ and I said, ‘No’ and he said, ‘LeBron James’ and I said, ‘Who’s LeBron James?’ and he said, ‘He’ll be the next Michael Jordan’ and I go, ‘Come on.'”
Meyer would go on to become the head coach at Bowling Green in 2001 while the Cleveland Cavaliers selected James first overall in the 2003 NBA draft. Both men would head to the Sunshine State to capture a pair of titles each—Meyer with Florida and James with the Miami Heat—before returning back to their Ohio roots.
Nearly three years after Meyer returned to Ohio to coach the Buckeyes in 2011, James followed suit by announcing his…
Continue Reading: How LeBron James’ Return to Cavs Could Help Ohio State Athletics