Ohio State University Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Gene Smith (center) accepted the United States Sports Academy’s 2010 Carl Maddox Sports Management Award Thursday, June 16 at the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics annual convention in Orlando. Dr. Gary Cunningham (left), an Academy Board of Trustees member and 2005 winner of the Maddox award, made the presentation with Academy Vice President Dr. T.J. Rosandich (right).
Ohio State University Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Gene Smith accepted the United States Sports Academy’s 2010 Carl Maddox Sports Management Award for successfully guiding one of the nation’s most comprehensive and successful college athletic programs since 2005.
Smith received the award Thursday, June 16 during a ceremony at the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) annual convention in Orlando, Fla., in front of a who’s who of athletic directors and several past Sports Management award winners. Dr. Gary Cunningham, an Academy Board of Trustees member and 2005 winner of the Maddox award, made the presentation to Smith.
The Carl Maddox Sport Management Award, named in honor of the former Athletic Director of Louisiana State University and Mississippi State University, is given annually to an individual for his contributions to the growth and development of sport enterprise through effective management practices. The individual should exhibit mastery of all the management functions, be well known in the sport arena, and have an abiding belief in the need for ethical behavior in sport management.
At Ohio State, Smith oversees 36 fully-funded varsity sports and more than 1,000 student-athletes. The department of athletics is completely self-supporting and receives no university funds, tax dollars or student fees. In fiscal year 2009-10, the department transferred nearly $30 million in assessments to the university, including more than $13 million in grant-in-aid reimbursement. In Smith’s first three years at Ohio State, the department of athletics finished in the black financially and increased its reserve fund.
Now in his sixth year as Ohio State AD, the program is proving successful on the field, too, recently earning a second-place finish in the 2010-11 Learfield Directors’ Cup standings. The finish will mark the highest in the history of Ohio State. The Directors’ Cup standings is based on each institution’s finish in up to 20 sports – 10 women’s and 10 men’s – and will be finalized June 30.
As a former college athlete and coach, Smith is passionate about the well-being of student-athletes. “We want to create an environment for our student-athletes to be successful academically, athletically and socially,” he said. “The student-athlete experience provides teachable moments that prepare young women and men for success in life.”
Smith is the eighth person and first African-American to hold the athletics director position at Ohio State. During the past 25 years, he has also served as athletic director at Arizona State, Iowa State and Eastern Michigan universities.
Upon arriving at Ohio State, Smith quickly established himself as a respected and thoughtful leader, both within the university and the community. In the spring of 2007, he unveiled a five-year strategic plan, reflecting the department’s goals and values. The strategic planning process, inclusive of the entire department, emphasized the development of the total student-athlete.
Smith is also a past NACDA president and was the organization’s first African-American leader. In 2007, he was named to NACDA’s inaugural “Legends Class.” A Cleveland native, Smith played defensive end for the University of Notre Dame and was a member of the 1973 national championship team.