Longtime SEC Commissioner Mike Slive Has Passed Away

Former SEC Commissioner Mike Slive passes away at 77

During Slive's 13-year tenure as SEC commissioner, the league won a record seven consecutive Bowl Championship Series titles, beginning with the 2006 Florida Gators, and expanded from 12 to 14 teams, adding Texas A&M and Missouri.

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. He first formally proposed the idea of a four-team playoff in 2008, but it was shot down by most of the other conference commissioners.

What Slive recognized more than most, however, was that a system that benefitted the SEC was also a system that would benefit college football as a whole. SEC schools won seven straight national titles while Slive was the commissioner.

Born July 26, 1940, Slive was a native of Utica, N.Y., and graduated from Dartmouth College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1962. He was a fearless negotiator who helped push the NCAA to grant Power 5 conferences, including the SEC, more autonomy and the authority to spend their funds as needed.

For a man who served in a position that drew a lot of ire, Slive remained a man of integrity throughout his career. 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.

Current SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said Slive "literally changed the world through his life".

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"When we first met, it's like I had known him for 20 years, so friendly and kind", Alleva said. "We will miss him for his work and especially for his compassion".

Just as he fought selflessly against cancer, Slive fought for the good of college football even while putting the SEC's interests first and foremost.

The seventh commissioner of the SEC was a pioneer in the industry and helped create the SEC Network. Nine schools either were under NCAA investigation or on probation.

"It was clear it was not only an athletic decision", Mr. Slive said in 2015. Tackling the cancer with more treatments, Slive spent the past several years battling to stay alive. It was a big story when Sylvester Croom was hired (in December 2003) at Mississippi State, and now we've had five (with Croom, Kevin Sumlin, Joker Phillips, James Franklin and Derek Mason), and it's a nonissue.

"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". "He was a brilliant leader who cared deeply about the people he led and the universities they represented". It has not been confirmed that cancer was the direct cause of his death.

Slive is survived by his wife Liz of 49 years, his daughter Anna, son-in-law Judd Harwood and 6-year-old granddaughter Abigail.

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