URBAN Meyer is passionate about his love for his hometown, a main reason he and Eastern Kentucky coach Dean Hood wanted to start the Urban Meyer and Dean Hood Free Football Camp at the SPIRE Institute.
Ask the Ashtabula natives about their hometown and they'll let you know.
"I got kind of upset when a reporter was doing a story and they talked about, 'Boy, it must have been tough growing up in Ashtabula, Ohio,' " said Meyer, who coaches The Ohio State University. "I wasn't following what he was saying and I said, 'What are you talking about?' I've been to 600 or 700 communities around this country. Every time I hear that I get real angry. I want people to come back here and see what this place is. Yea, it's a little tough in the winter. But in the summer, there's not a better place.
"Both Dean and I talk about that all the time, when people say that comment about how tough it must have been in Ashtabula, Ohio. You want to talk about tough, there's a lot of bad places. This is a great place. That's why I think any chance we can, now, especially since I'm here, I'm going to be screaming that. Dean has a cottage on the late for the week this summer. What a great place to come spend time. We're real proud of Ashtabula, Ohio."
Why do they like it? Hood and Meyer represent those blue-collar values in their coaching. Hood reminds himself of his father going to his factory job sacrificing for his family.
"It was basketball season and I got the new Chucky Ts (Chuck Taylors) and he's got a pair K-Mart shoes that were 18 years old and no concerns," Hood said.
Ohio is the place for hardworking coaches. Look at the current head coaching linage that comes from this area. Not only is there Hood and Meyer from Ashtabula, but there is Bo Pelini at Nebraska and Bob Stoops at Oklahoma - both Cardinal Mooney High School graduates. Then, there are countless major college assistant coaches that hail from northeast Ohio.
"My two cents is there's no better coaching in the country than the state of Ohio," Meyer said. "The value of respect of the game and that goes back from Paul Brown to Woody Hayes to all the great coaches we all kind of idolized, even coach (Bo) Schembechler. Those are the people I've watched and there's bits and pieces in everything I've done. It was all learned here in this great state."
For Meyer and Hood, their successes started in Ashtabula - a place both are proud to call home.