By ROBERT LEBZELTER
It’s no urban legend.
Urban Meyer, undefeated this season as head football coach of Ohio State University, really did grow up in Ashtabula and new signs at various entrances to the city attest to the fact.
“They just started going up Monday,” City Manager James Timonere said Wednesday. “We got them in (last) Thursday or Friday.”
“They were designed by Chamber of Commerce President Jessica Forsythe. She’s a graphic artist and came up with the design and we really liked it,” Timonere said.
The red signs with white lettering welcome people to Ashtabula, calling Meyer “Buckeye Born, Buckeye Proud!” and lists Meyer’s big accomplishment as “BCS Championship Head Coach.”
Meyer won two Bowl Championship Series honors while head coach of the University of Florida.
While the signs state Ashtabula is his home town, he was actually born in Toledo, but grew up here and graduated from St. John High School.
He was first head coach at Bowling Green University in 2001 before moving to the University of Utah, then tackling the University of Florida.
His record at OSU this season was 12-0.
Timonere said the city obtained the signs from the same firm it gets all its traffic signs. Public Works has been installing them when it has time in all areas where there were previously corporate limits signs.
“We bought eight and will have a couple left over in case some get damaged,” he said.
“It gives Coach Meyer the respect he deserves from his home town. A couple of people have already noticed the signs, including Coach Meyer’s former classmate, who texted me and said it looked good,” Timonere said.
“The idea for the signs came up to council about a year or two ago, but interest sort of died until the idea was brought back by (Ward 2 Councilman August) Pugliese,” Timonere said.
Meyer frequently returns to the city, most recently speaking at the Ashtabula County Touchdown Club banquet in December.