Gene Smith

Ohio State’s student-athletes continue to excel in the classroom and on the fields of play under the leadership of Gene Smith, who directs the nation’s largest and one of its elite athletic programs.




Smith is proud of the high-performance culture that has developed with the leadership of what he often refers to as “the best coaching staff in America.” Record achievements by individuals, teams and the entire athletic program attest to Ohio State’s commitment to the development of the total student-athlete in a holistic way.

As the institution’s academic profile has increased, so too has the academic profile of its student-athletes. In the classroom, student-athletes continue to distinguish themselves with record numbers earning university, conference and national honors. Last year, Ohio State boasted a record 692 Ohio State Scholar Athletes and 489 Academic All-Big Ten selections and 238 student-athletes earned their degrees.


Smith's Tenure

During Smith’s tenure, Ohio State has dominated Big Ten Conference play, with 95 team and 305 individual conference championships. Nothing delights Smith more than seeing student-athletes proudly display their championship rings which will forever serve as a reminder of their Ohio State experience.

National Stage

On the national stage, Ohio State teams have won 23 team and 89 individual national championships during Smith’s tenure, a mark of competitive excellence, and collected 1,285 All-America honors. By doing so, Ohio State has established itself as a perennial Top 5 contender in the Learfield Director’s Cup.

External Partnerships

Smith’s business acumen has resulted in strong fiscal performance and new resources have been used to enhance the student-athlete experience. Record setting third party agreements – with NIKE, IMG, LEVY and COKE, among others – have allowed for innovative and trend setting programs offered to student-athletes, including Bucks Go Pro internships, Study Abroad and the Wolstein Leadership Academy.


Fundraising is one of Smith’s gifts, and along with his development team, he has recently raised more than $120 million for future projects and those currently under construction: The Schumaker Complex, Covelli Center and Jennings Wrestling Facility. Two additional projects are also underway and when complete will provide state-of-the-art facilities to complement the existing Athletics District.

Top 10 organizations in Sports

Smith oversees approximately 700 employees in athletics and business advancement, with a total annual budget of $319 million, and a football program with a $1.5 billion valuation, as estimated by the Wall Street Journal. But what Smith is most proud of is the exemplary culture within his units, recognized by Forbes as “one of the best ten organizations to work for in sports” and the only college program on its list.

After 33 years serving in the role of athletics director, Smith still delights in ensuring the student-athlete experience at Ohio State is exemplary and that its high-performance culture truly inspires young men and women to achieve their vast potential.

In the Community

Smith has served on the College Football Playoff Selection Committee (CFP), the Basketball Commission, chaired by Condoleezza Rice, and the Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee of the NCAA. Locally, he serves on the board of directors of the Columbus Museum of Art and the Columbus Club.


Smith is the father of four children with his wife, Sheila: Matt, Nicole, Lindsey and Summer, and they are grandparents to seven: Marshall, Steele, Addison, Grayson, Tyson, Elijah and Maya. Outside of work Smith enjoys travel, golf and spending time with family.