“Ohio State is a dream come true”: Ryan & Nina Day discuss becoming the ‘first family’ of Buckeye football


A lot has changed in a short amount of time for new Ohio State head football coach Ryan Day and his family including wife Nina and their three children.

It was after the Buckeyes’ Rose Bowl win that Urban Meyer presented the team to Day by passing him the whistle in the locker room.

Since that moment, life has changed big time for the Day family.

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“It's a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Ryan said. “We've been working our whole life toward becoming a head coach and had a lot of conversations over the years about the sacrifice it takes for the family and for us during the climb in this profession but to be at Ohio State is a dream come true. It's a special time for our family but we also know the responsibility and what's ahead.”

And that means Nina is now the First Lady of Buckeye football. She said she’s ready for the role.

“The last two years I started to understand the intensity and the love for the team [and] for Ohio State,” she said. “It is something that I am embracing and learning as I go.”

For Ryan and Nina their love affair started a long time ago. They were 5-years-old and on the same t-ball team. They went to high school prom together and both attended the University of New Hampshire where Ryan was a quarterback on the football team.

“I mean he was not the most athletic, but he was definitely the smartest,” Nina said. “He was always one step ahead of the other players out there and so he mostly out witted the other players and that is why he was so successful.”

Nina said she rarely gives her opinion on the X’s and O’s of the game. Except for one time.

Nina: He was coaching at Boston College and they were playing at USC. I got very upset during the game. I sent him…
Ryan: …A text during the game, like ‘why are you running the ball on 3rd down’ or something like that.

“I am like first of all you are my wife and you are going to send me a text during the game so that was the end of that,” Ryan said.

From New Hampshire and the coaching stops before Ohio State, this is now Ryan’s football program.

“I do think the support we have felt from Buckeye Nation has been unbelievable throughout the whole process and at the end of the day we have a job to do and we understand what that entails,” he said. “Sometimes there is going to be criticism along the way that is part of the job.”

That part is something Nina knows. Her father, Stan Spirou, coached basketball at Southern New Hampshire University.

“Just growing up with my dad as a coach I heard a lot growing up and it was hurtful but at the end of the day it is their profession, and everybody has a voice now,” she said. “Everybody has an opinion and you can't let those opinions affect how you go about your day.”

Nina sees herself as more of a mother figure when it comes to the football team.

“They don't have their moms and dads here. I just like to keep a pulse of the players and identify when some of them are struggling and just kind of bring it to his attention,” she said

More than anything, Ryan and Nina want Buckeye Nation to know that they are just normal people. They are very excited about this opportunity and they want to be here a very long time.