Gene Smith is in his 13th year as director of athletics at The Ohio State University. He is widely recognized among the leaders of his profession and has been named “one of the most powerful people in collegiate sport.” Smith was named the Buckeyes’ director of athletics March 5, 2005 and was elevated to senior vice president and Wolfe Foundation endowed athletics director in May of 2016.
Smith is the eighth person to hold the athletics director position at Ohio State. He previously served as director of athletics at Arizona State, Iowa State and Eastern Michigan universities and is entering his 32nd year in the role.
Under Smith’s leadership, the Ohio State athletics department has thrived, winning myriad conference and national, individual and team, athletic championships and awards. In 2015, Forbes recognized the Ohio State Athletics Department as one of the ten best organizations to work for in sports.
Most recently, Smith was selected to serve on the College Football Playoff Selection Committee in January of 2017. He will serve a three-year term. In April of 2017, he joined the Board of Directors for The Columbus Club, a prominent club for leaders of business and industry.
Formed in October of 2017, Smith began work with the Commission on College Basketball, a task force formed by Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA, and chaired by Dr. Condoleezza Rice, former provost at Stanford, U.S. National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, to examine Division I men’s basketball. The group will primarily examine the relationships between the NCAA, its member institutions, coaches and student athletes with apparel companies, non-scholastic basketball organizations and agents or advisors.
Smith grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and attended the University of Notre Dame on a football scholarship. He played four years of football as a defensive end for the Irish and was a member of the 1973 Associated Press national championship team.
Smith received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Notre Dame in 1977. Following graduation, he joined the Notre Dame coaching staff under Dan Devine and remained in that capacity until 1981. The 1977 Notre Dame team captured the undisputed national championship. Smith has the unique distinction of winning national championships in football as a student-athlete, coach, and athletics director.
Gene and Sheila have four children: Matt, Nicole, Lindsey and Summer, and seven grandchildren: Marshall, Steele, Addison, Grayson, Tyson, Elijah and Maya.