Former longtime SEC commish Slive dies at 77

Former Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive, who led the league to unprecedented success each on and off the sphere and managed its development from a regional convention to nationwide big throughout his 13-year tenure, died on Wednesday after a prolonged sickness.

Slive, 77, introduced he was starting remedy for a recurrence of prostate most cancers shortly earlier than he retired as SEC commissioner in July 2015. He stated he’d been first identified with the illness within the late 1990s. He had been working as a guide to the SEC since his retirement.

Under Slive’s watch, SEC soccer groups received an unprecedented seven consecutive Bowl Championship Series nationwide titles from 2006 to 2012, the league’s footprint was expanded by including new members Missouri and Texas A&M via enlargement in 2012, and it turned the richest convention in school sports activities by launching the SEC Network two years later.

In 2002, the considered a Yankee operating the SEC appeared akin to the Vatican naming a Protestant pope. But Slive’s broad expertise made him the best substitute for the retiring Roy Kramer and his imaginative and prescient reworked the SEC right into a nationwide powerhouse.

“He was a real visionary, and I don’t think any of us will ever forget the impact he had nationally on the sport,” former Florida president Bernie Machen instructed ESPN shortly earlier than Slive’s retirement in 2015.

Slive will probably be remembered for overseeing what is taken into account the golden age in SEC athletics. Starting with Florida in 2006, SEC groups received seven consecutive nationwide titles till Florida State ended the streak in 2013.

“That won’t be broken in your lifetime, my lifetime or anybody’s lifetime,” Slive instructed ESPN in 2015. “I tell people that I never say never, but that’s a never.”

Overall, SEC groups received 75 nationwide championships in 17 sports activities throughout his 13-year tenure.

Slive’s affect within the SEC was felt as a lot off the taking part in area as on it. When Slive was named the SEC’s seventh commissioner in July 2002, 9 of its colleges had been both on NCAA probation or beneath investigation. Slive vowed to have each one of many league’s colleges off probation inside 5 years.

He started repairing the SEC’s fame as a rogue league by persuading faculty presidents and athletics administrators to carry their coaches extra accountable for guidelines violations, implementing academic reforms and organising compliance workshops.

When Slive was picked to exchange the retiring Roy Kramer, not one of the 12 SEC colleges had ever had an African-American soccer coach. Mississippi State employed the primary one, Sylvester Croom, in 2003, and 4 extra could be employed throughout Slive’s tenure: James Franklin (Vanderbilt), Derek Mason (Vanderbilt), Joker Phillips (Kentucky) and Kevin Sumlin (Texas A&M).

In August 2008, the SEC signed a 15-year cope with ESPN value greater than $2 billion to televise its sporting occasions, which was the longest contract ESPN had ever signed. Six years later, ESPN launched the SEC Network to 65 million properties, which ESPN known as essentially the most profitable cable launch in historical past. After just one 12 months, the SEC Network had a market worth of $four.77 billion, in accordance with the analysis agency SNL Kagan.

The 12 months earlier than Slive was employed, the SEC distributed $95.7 million in income to its 12 member colleges. The league’s 14 colleges shared $455.eight million after his closing 12 months in 2014-15.

“He always laughed about the whole ‘most powerful man in college sports’ thing,” former Mississippi State athletic director Larry Templeton, one among Slive’s shut buddies, instructed ESPN in 2015.

“He just didn’t view himself that way. He viewed himself as somebody who was going to do his job, somebody who knew what his plan was, somebody who was going to stick to that plan and trust the people around him and not be worried about what everybody else’s plan was.”

Slive, the son of a butcher from Utica, N.Y., was instilled with a piece ethic that led him to Dartmouth and later earned him a regulation diploma at Virginia and a Master of Laws at Georgetown. He was an assistant AD at Dartmouth for 2 years however felt he was losing his regulation levels and commenced working towards in New Hampshire.

Ultimately, the pull of faculty athletics was too sturdy. During the early 1980s, he was an assistant commissioner within the Pac-10, then the AD at Cornell. By the mid-’80s he was again in regulation, this time representing colleges dealing with NCAA sanctions. In 1991, Slive turned commissioner of the newly created Great Midwest Conference, after which 4 years later he ran its successor, Conference USA.

Slive is survived by his spouse, Liz; daughter Anna, son-in-law Judd Harwood; and granddaughter, Abigail.

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