Undated-Mike Slive, the seventh commissioner of the Southeastern Conference and one of the most respected and accomplished leaders in the history of intercollegiate athletics, died Wednesday in Birmingham, Alabama, at the age of 77. He had originally been diagnosed in the 1990s.
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. "Our deepest condolences go out to the entire Slive family".
Slive served as commissioner of the SEC from 2002 until his retirement in 2015. Soon after the SEC became the most powerful conference in college football, winning seven straight national championships and landing television contracts worth billions. In total, the conference captured 81 national titles in 19 different sports during his time as leader.
Slive played a pivotal role in the creation of the College Football Playoff, expanded the SEC from 12 to 14 schools with the additions of Missouri and Texas A&M in 2012 and was the driving force behind the launch of the SEC Network in 2014.
Slive also helped fix the reputation of the conference. These included the SEC Task Force on Compliance and Enforcement which developed policies and procedures to assist league schools in NCAA and SEC matters; SEC University (SECU), the conference's academic initiative; and an SEC Sportsmanship initiative consisting of policies and procedures created to foster sportsmanship and encourage positive fan behavior. Slive promised that every member of the school would be off probation within five years of his appointment, and he worked with school officials to implement reforms and hold themselves to higher standards.
"Mike Slive literally changed the world through his life". He was a friend when we were colleagues. We will miss him for his work and especially for his compassion.
"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 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).
Before taking over as commissioner of the SEC, he was the first commissioner of Conference USA from 1995-2002 and the first commissioner of the Great Midwest Conference when it was founded in 1991.