Jan. 5, 2005
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State Director of Athletics Andy Geiger will retire from his post June 30, 2005, university president Karen A. Holbrook announced Wednesday. Geiger, who has been the school’s athletics director since April 1994, will remain at the university through June 2006.
“Today’s announcement should be seen in the framework of an extraordinary tenure of leadership, for which Andy has been recognized quite rightly as one of the premier athletic directors in the nation,” Holbrook said. “The Department of Athletics has faced many challenges and has experienced 11 years of remarkable and measurable accomplishment under Andy’s leadership. A broad and diverse program for 1,000 student-athletes in 36 sports, talented and committed coaches who are directing winning teams, state-of-the-art facilities, sound finances and significantly improved academic performance are his legacy to Ohio State.”
Geiger has led Ohio State as one of the most respected leaders in college athletics. He has overseen a program with 36 sports, nearly 1,000 student-athletes and an annual operating budget that exceeds $85 million.
Geiger was responsible for adding three women’s sports – hockey, lacrosse and rowing – and has assembled one of the premier coaching staffs in America. Ohio State has finished third and fourth, respectively, the past two years in the Directors’ Cup, which recognizes the best overall programs in the country.
Under Geiger’s watchful eye, Ohio State teams not only qualify for NCAA postseason play on a regular basis, they have done well in the classroom, where last year, 403 student-athletes attended the annual Scholar-Athlete awards banquet, which requires a minimum grade-point average of 3.0. During the last two years, Ohio State has had more student-athletes named to the Academic All-Big Ten Team than any other school. At the end of the autumn 2004 quarter, the average GPA of Ohio State’s student-athletes was 3.0.
Since Geiger’s arrival in 1994, 19 teams have made 103 appearances in the NCAA tournament and five teams have won 15 national championships: fencing (2004), football (2002), men’s gymnastics (1996 and 2001), pistol (2000 and 2004) and nine national championships by synchronized swimming.
While in Columbus, Geiger has engineered a building boom that has included construction of some of the best venues in college athletics, including the 4,450-seat Bill Davis Stadium (baseball), the 19,200-seat Jerome Schottenstein Center (men’s and women’s basketball and men’s ice hockey), and the massive renovation to Ohio Stadium (football) that expanded capacity to 101,568. He also has been responsible for the construction of the 10,000-seat Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium (men’s and women’s track and field, soccer and lacrosse) and the Steelwood Center, the practice facility for wrestling, fencing and men’s and women’s gymnastics. The Bill and Mae McCorkle Aquatics Pavilion that will be used by the men’s and women’s swimming and diving and synchronized swimming teams will open this spring. Other facility upgrades have been made to the OSU Scarlet Golf Course, the OSU Ice Rink and to Buckeye Field (softball).
Additionally, the Younkin Success Center, which houses the Student-Athlete Support Services Office and serves as a laboratory and resource center for Ohio State’s student-athletes, opened its doors in the spring of 2000.
“This is bittersweet,” Geiger said. “It is my decision after months of thinking about this. After 33 years as an athletic director at five fine universities, I find that my work is no longer fun, and that I don’t look forward with enthusiasm to each day. Thus, it is time for me to change directions, and time for Ohio State to seek new leadership for its department of athletics.
“We have enjoyed almost 11 years of life in Columbus and intense involvement in the life of The Ohio State University through its athletic programs. I will leave a department that is staffed with coaches, staff and administrators who are extraordinary. I am very proud of them and what they are achieving every day. If there is to be a legacy, I wish it to be about people, not buildings or other things.
“The facilities are in fine shape and the department is fiscally sound,” Geiger continued. “I believe the future is very bright for all of our sports and I shall do all in my power to ensure that future.
“The athletic directorship at Ohio State is one of the premier positions in the field of intercollegiate athletics. The university administration, faculty, staff, students and alumni support our programs energetically and with a compassion which includes embracement and criticism and that is just right. President Holbrook shares my belief in the values of a strong, broadly based intercollegiate athletic program and she has always been a powerful advocate of our department and its teams.”
Holbrook said a search committee for a new director of athletics will be chaired by Dean Joe Alutto of the Fisher College of Business. The committee will begin work immediately. Holbrook said she hopes to have Geiger’s successor named by June 30.
Opening Statements from President Holbrook and Andy Geiger on the announcement of Geiger’s retirement
Remarks from President Holbrook
Thank you for joining us this afternoon.
We are here to announce that Andy Geiger has decided to retire as Ohio State’s Athletics Director effective June 30, 2005, one year before his contract ends with The Ohio State University.
In light of recent developments, I have asked Andy to spend his remaining six months as Athletics Director addressing some important and difficult issues. He will work with Provost Barbara Snyder on the structure of academic advising for student-athletes. I’m also asking him to work with the University’s General Counsel, Chris Culley, to strengthen our compliance processes, and to further our work on booster education with the Vice President for University Development, Jim Schroeder, and the President and CEO of the Alumni Association, Archie Griffin.
Andy and I hope that by addressing these matters we can bring closure to some of the significant issues of recent months and position the Department of Athletics for the next phase of its development as one of the leading intercollegiate athletics programs in the nation.
Before Andy speaks to you about his decision and his plans, let me first say a few things to put this announcement into proper context. The Department of Athletics has faced many challenges and has experienced 11 years of remarkable and measurable accomplishment under Andy’s leadership. A broad and diverse program for 1,000 student-athletes in 36 sports, talented and committed coaches who are directing winning teams, state-of-the-art facilities, sound finances and significantly improved academic performance are his legacy to Ohio State. Today’s announcement should be seen in the framework of an extraordinary tenure of leadership, for which Andy has been recognized quite rightly as one of the premier athletic directors in the nation.
And now let me turn the microphone over to Andy.
Remarks from Andy Geiger
Thank you, Karen.
This is bittersweet. It is my decision after months of thinking about this. After 33 years as an Athletic Director at five fine universities, I find that my work is no longer fun, and that I don’t look forward with enthusiasm to each day. Thus, it is time for me to change directions, and time for Ohio State to seek new leadership for its Department of Athletics.
A friend wrote me a letter that contained this advice: “If you did nothing wrong, don’t behave as you did.” I am not running or hiding, rather I am making a management decision that is best for me and my family. I have had to deal with a cumulative fatigue and weariness which inevitably comes with management of a large, very public athletic department. This is not serving me or the programs well.
Controversy is always difficult. Clearly, we are dealing with some difficult issues, and I will work with my colleagues to see them through to conclusion to the very best of my ability.
We have enjoyed almost 11 years of life in Columbus and intense involvement in the life of The Ohio State University through its athletic programs. I will leave a Department that is staffed with coaches, staff and administrators who are extraordinary. I am very proud of them and what they are achieving every day. If there is to be a legacy, I wish it to be about people, not buildings or other things.
The facilities are in fine shape and the department is fiscally sound. I believe the future is very bright for all of our sports, and I shall do all in my power to ensure that future.
The Athletic Directorship at Ohio State is one of the premier positions in the field of intercollegiate athletics. The University Administration, Faculty, Staff, Students and Alumni support our programs energetically and with a compassion which includes embracement and criticism, and that is just right. President Holbrook shares my belief in the values of a strong, broadly-based intercollegiate athletic program and she has always been a powerful advocate of our department and its teams.
During the 2004 season, our Football Team has demonstrated its capability on the field and in the classroom. The academic performance of the individuals on our team continues to improve, and the level of play on the field improved dramatically. Jim Tressel has my respect and admiration for his management of Ohio State Football. He has already met with me twice since the bowl game to begin a renewed effort at balancing the need to keep the student-athletes isolated from the worst sense of boosterism and yet be engaged in the community in positive and healthy ways. If either of my sons was talented enough to play football at a high level, I would have no qualms about his being part of this team.
During my final months as Director of Athletics, I will be working with my colleagues within the Department and the University to accomplish a very important agenda. It is urgent at this time that we take greater steps to integrate the Department of Athletics as fully as possible with the mission of the University. Thus we will be:
– Helping to move the Student Athlete Support Services Organization further under the aegis of the Office of the Provost.
– Creating a different reporting relationship for our Compliance Office, aligning it more closely with our Legal Affairs.
– Creating and executing a more comprehensive Booster Education program which will commence with the first mailings for the 2005 Football Season beginning about the first of February.
In addition to those efforts, I will continue to manage the Department of Athletics on a daily basis until June 30 or the appointment of new Director if that comes sooner. For the duration of my contract, I will be assisting with fundraising for the additions to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, the new Tennis Center, the Rowing Boathouse on the Scioto River, and the renovations of our Softball Stadium. In addition, I will assist with Development efforts and possibly work with students as a resource, imparting knowledge gained through 43 years of work in intercollegiate athletics.
I know this is the right thing to do. I will always treasure my time here, and I will always be a Buckeye.
Remarks from President Holbrook
I have asked Dean Joe Alutto of the Fisher College of Business to serve as chair of the search committee for a new Director of Athletics. The committee, with faculty, staff, student and board representation, will begin its work immediately to identify well-qualified candidates and ensure a smooth transition between Andy and his successor.
I am very pleased that Andy will continue his relationship with the University in a new capacity through June 2006, pursuing special projects including fund-raising and significant interaction with students.
Press Conference Quotes
On what he will miss most/least
“One thing I’m definitely going to miss, as cheesy as this sounds, are the people in this room. I’ve interacted with the media through good and bad, and have a healthy respect for our relationship. But I’m also going to miss the coaches and the student-athletes. They are the product of what we do and I’ve enjoyed all the time I’ve spent with them. One thing I will miss the least was the environment around here after we lost three straight football games earlier this season.”
On his obligation to help the NCAA in their investigations after retirement
“Morally and ethically, I have a responsibility to do so. I will never hide from responsibility. Retired or not, I will be a part of this department.”
On what has not been fun during the past couple months
“I’m just tired. Bone-weary tired. This isn’t the type of tired that a good night sleep could fix. I feel like I’m just burned out.”
On what caused this weariness
“I would say 11 years of doing this job has burned me out. Also, the body blows that come with Ohio State athletics have been tiring. But overall, it has been an accumulation of many things.”
On how the job as athletic director has changed during the last 11 years
“I think every Division I AD’s job has changed. There has been more sophistication as technology has enhanced. With internet involvement comes more communication, more recruiting, along with things like internet gambling. I think the whole landscape of college athletics has changed for everyone.”
On the toughest challenge of the job
“I think it’s dealing with the always everyday intensity of interest surrounding this department.”
On how he wants to be remembered
“I hope to be remembered for supporting and insisting on excellence for all of our sports and maintaining balance in our programs. I am proud of the number of university firsts for NCAA appearances and the overall health of our programs. Structurally, I can’t think of anything I’m more proud of than the Steelwood Training Facility.”
On the perceptions surrounding the Ohio State athletic department
“I can’t help perception. I’m a reality guy and I know the truth. I vowed to never hang on until it was too late. I’m making this decision because I want to. It’s the right time for Ohio State to be under new leadership.”
On if he holds any bitterness
“No, I’m not bitter in any way. I wish there weren’t clouds swirling around over different programs. But I made this decision because of an accumulation of things.”
On boosters getting too close to the program
“Honest boosterism close to the program is fine. I don’t want to put this department in a bubble where there is no human contact and interaction. Human interaction is incredibly important and we want to continue that. We just need to be doing our best to police it correctly.”
On when he made this decision
“This is something that I’ve been wrestling with since last summer. I told my staff on Monday and here I am today to officially make it public.”
Karen A. Holbrook, Ohio State President
On Andy Geiger
“It has been nothing but a pleasure to work with Andy. He is one of the most respectable men in collegiate athletics. I am very grateful to have had him as a colleague and a friend.”
On Geiger’s retirement
“This decision is one that he’s been thinking about for many months. I did talk to him about the timing of the decision and discouraged him from doing it at an earlier date. But now, it’s only fair to let him make this decision.”
On hiring a new athletic director
“Right now we have no candidates and all that will be up to the search committee. If I were to pick, I would want an athletic director with high standards, integrity and experience. This is a very tough job and I believe you need those two values along with experience.”