Ohio State athletic director Smith announces plan to retire in 2024 

Ohio State athletic director and senior vice president Gene Smith announced on Wednesday he will retire in July 2024. 

The 19th-year Buckeyes athletics director who is a native of Cleveland first arrived at Ohio State in April 2005. He’s spent nearly two decades guiding the Buckeyes and being a leading voice in the Big Ten Conference. 

“I want to thank the leadership of The Ohio State University during my tenure for providing me the opportunity to serve as Senior Vice President and Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletic Director for the past 18 years,” Smith stated in a release. 

Smith has also served as athletic director at Eastern Michigan, Iowa State and Arizona State. He cited spending more time with family among his reasons for his impending retirement.

Some of Smith’s accomplishments include the creation of the Eugene D. Smith Leadership Institute which includes Bucks Go Pro programs and internships for Buckeye student-athletes. Ohio State has also achieved 369 individual and 115 team conference championships during Smith’s tenure. 

Smith and his colleagues at Ohio State’s development team since 2005 have also raised more than $930 million, which represent over 77% of all funds raised for Ohio State athletics all-time, according to a release. 

Smith also currently serves on the NCAA NIL Working Group, as student-athletes received the right to profit from their name, image and likeness during his tenure in July 2021. He also served on the College Football Playoff Committee from 2017-20. 

Ohio State will see a change atop its athletics department on the cusp of the Big Ten expanding from 14 to 18 teams through the additions of Oregon, UCLA, USC and Washington. 

Smith’s retirement will also come on the heels of a historic media rights agreement made by the Big Ten in August 2022

Among a number of changes since Smith took the position at Ohio State, Smith wants to make sure the next athletic director is ready for the current, ever-changing landscape of college athletics. 

“I have always believed that a leader seeks to be the right person at the right time in the life of the institution,” Smith stated in a release. “I believe that July 2024 is the right time to welcome new leadership to build upon what we have achieved and continue to build upon the great tradition of excellence in athletics and business advancement at Ohio State.”