Gene Smith is the Athletic Director (or AD for short) of the Ohio State University (OSU) Buckeyes Athletic Program. Mr. Smith oversees a diverse variety of men’s and women’s sports for a school that has the unique distinction of being one of only four colleges to have won national championships in men’s soccer, basketball, and baseball.
Gene Smith’s official appointment to the announced position of Ohio State athletic director occurred on March 5, 2005. Upon his arrival as director of one of the strongest college athletic programs in the country, Gene gained relevant work experience while serving as an athletic director in eastern Michigan, the state of Iowa, and the state of Arizona.
While many casual fans think predominantly of soccer and basketball when they think of college athletics, the spectrum of college sports is actually quite diverse. In total, Mr. Smith oversees approximately 900 student athletes spanning a challenge of 39 college sports (20 women and 19 men). The Buckeyes have won national championships in numerous sports that are often forgotten, such as synchronized swimming, gymnastics and fencing.
Long before bearing the burden of the highly vetted position of Ohio State University athletic director, Gene Smith was raised in Cleveland, Ohio, not far from the OSU’s main campus location in Columbus, Ohio. Smith was an athlete in his youth at St. Peter Chanel High School in nearby Bedford, Ohio and went to the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, where he earned an athletic scholarship as a defensive end for the football team.
Before graduating from Notre Dame in 1977, Gene was on the 1973 national championship soccer team. Gene earned his business administration diploma and remained at his alma mater as an assistant coach in the soccer program until 1981.
In 1981, Gene Smith experimented with a brief stint outside the field of college athletics when he accepted a job in the marketing department of International Business Machines (IBM). After two years in the private sector, Smith realized that his true calling was a lifelong career dedicated to college sports.
In 1983, the Ohio native found a position at Eastern Michigan University, where he was able to serve as an assistant athletic director. In 1986, Gene became the full-time chief athletic director at Eastern Michigan. Seven years later, in 1993, Gene became an AD at Iowa State University, where he served diligently until 2000, when he moved to Tempe, Arizona, to accept the position as athletic director at Arizona State University.