Gene Smith is the athletic director (or AD for short) of the Ohio State University (OSU) Buckeyes athletic program. Mr. Smith oversees a diverse assortment of both 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 was officially appointed to the anticipated position of athletic director for Ohio State on March 5, 2005. In leading to his position as head of one of the strongest college sports programs in the country, Gene gained significant experience career while serving as athletic director at Eastern Michigan, Iowa State and Arizona State.
While many casual fans predominantly think of football and basketball when they think of varsity athletics, the spectrum of varsity sports is really quite diverse. In total Mr. Smith supervises approximately 900 student athletes covering a gauntlet of 39 varsity sports (20 women’s and 19 men’s). The Buckeyes have won national championships in numerous often-forgotten sports, including synchronized swimming, gymnastics, and fencing.
Long before bearing the burden of the highly scrutinized position of Ohio State University athletic director, Gene Smith grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, not far from the Columbus, Ohio location of OSU’s main campus. Smith was an athlete in his youth at St. Peter Chanel High School in nearby Bedford, Ohio, and went on 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 football team. Gene majored in business administration and remained with his alma mater as an assistant coach with the football program until 1981.
In 1981 Gene Smith experienced a brief career stint outside the realm of college athletics when he took 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 assistant athletic director. In 1986 Gene became the full-time chief athletic director at Eastern Michigan. Seven years later, in 1993, Gene became AD at Iowa State University, where he dutifully served until 2000, when he moved across the country to Tempe, Arizona, to accept the position of athletic director at the University of Arizona. ‘Arizona State University.