Former Commissioner of the Southeastern Conference Mike Slive has passed away, he was 77 years old.
Slive retired as conference commissioner in July 2015, but was influential in growing the conference, including the creation of the SEC Network.
With bold vision, keen intellect and a gentle manner, Mike Slive guided the Southeastern Conference to unprecedented success and prosperity in 13 years as commissioner.
Slive was perhaps most proud of the advancement of diversity across the SEC during his tenure, highlighted by the hiring of Sylvester Croom at Mississippi State, the first African-American football coach in league history.
Slive is credited with guiding the Southeastern Conference to it's current position as one of the eminent conferences in Collegiate Athletics, and oversaw 75 National Championships in 17 sports during his time at the head of the conference.
A native of New York, Slive graduated from Dartmouth with a Bachelor of Arts degree before graduating with law degrees from Virginia and Georgetown.
Our thoughts are with the Slive family at this time. During his final years as SEC commissioner, Slive could at seen at SEC media events walking the grounds while holding the hand of his grandchildren.
"Mike Slive is one of the best people I have ever met", said Charles Bloom, a former associate commissioner at the SEC who is now an administrator at SC. He was a friend before we worked together. We will miss him for his work and especially for his compassion.
"It's shocking", SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, who replaced Slive, told the AP.
Slive replaced Roy Kramer as SEC commissioner in 2002, coming from Conference USA to help clean up an SEC that was beset by NCAA compliance issues. Nine schools either were under NCAA investigation or on probation.
During Slive's tenure at the SEC, he developed initiatives created to maintain and improve the SEC's preeminent position in intercollegiate athletics, both on and off the fields of play.
"Mike was an extrarordinary man, a tremendous partner and an even better friend", said CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus. "He was a brilliant leader who cared deeply about the people he led and the universities they represented". These agreements made the league the most widely distributed conference on television in the nation and also secured the financial health of the SEC and its member institutions for years to come.
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