Former SEC Commissioner Mike Slive passes away at 77

Paola Ditto
Mag 17, 2018

Mike Slive, who led the SEC to unprecedented heights in college football and helped reshape the future of the sport with the College Football Playoff, is dead at age 77.

"He was a friend before he was the boss, he was a friend while he was the boss, he was a friend after", SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, who replaced Slive, told the SEC Network.

Slive passed away Wednesday after a lengthy illness, leaving behind a legacy perhaps unmatched by any conference commissioner. He was named to the post in 2002. He also served as commissioner of Conference USA for seven years, where he became acquainted with Calipari.

"Obviously, Dr. Lee Todd and Mitch Barnhart made the decision to hire me, but my friend, guardian, and mentor Mike Slive was instrumental in me becoming the coach at Kentucky Calipari said on his website".

After surviving cancer, Slive founded the Mike Slive Foundation for Prostate Cancer Research. In total, the conference captured 81 national titles in 19 different sports during his time as leader. "Our deepest condolences go out to the entire Slive family". Mike's impact on the SEC and college athletics are immeasurable and will be felt for decades to come. Nine schools either were under NCAA investigation or on probation. He was a friend when we were colleagues.

Slive is survived by his wife, Liz; daughter Anna, son-in-law Judd Harwood; and granddaughter, Abigail. Today we all lost a friend.

Slive also spent three years as the coordinator of the Bowl Championship Series (2006-08) and two as the chair of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee (2008-09).

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. We will miss him for his work and especially for his compassion.

Slive played a pivotal role in the creation of the College Football Playoff. It was a campaign he carried on for years, and one that finally came to fruition with the creation of the College Football Playoff in 2014.

An "SEC" logo is seen on an end zone pylon before the Missouri Tigers take on the Auburn Tigers during the SEC Championship Game at Georgia Dome on December 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.

A memorial service for Slive will be held at Temple Emanu-El in Birmingham, Alabama, on Friday, May 16.

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