The Southeastern Conference on Tuesday announced that Commissioner Mike Slive, who will have served in the role for 13 years, will retire on July 31, 2015. Slive also personally announced that he will be “beginning treatment for a recurrence of prostate cancer for which he was treated in the late 1990s.”
“I have been blessed in more ways than I can count and I will have as much passion for this job on my last day as I did on my first,” said Slive in a press release from the league.
“I consider my health situation a temporary detour in a remarkable road that has allowed me to meet amazing people, experience incredible events and celebrate historic victories. I will relish my final year in this position and look forward to being the biggest fan of the SEC for many years to come.”
The prognosis for the Slive to recover is “good,” but he will nevertheless leave his post at the SEC six days after his 75th birthday. At that time, he will “serve in the role of consultant to the conference for a period of four years.”
Just the seventh commissioner in SEC history, Slive has overseen a growth period for the conference unmatched by leagues across the country. He has negotiated record television contracts for the league and launched the SEC ESPN Network in 2014
Football teams won seven-straight Bowl Championship Series national titles during his tenure as well as 60 other national championships; the 67 titles came in 15 of the 21 sports in which the league participates.
Slive has also made an impact nationally with roles in BCS coordination, NCAA Tournament selection (men’s basketball), NCAA governance and the new College Football Playoff, which debuts this postseason.
The league plans to conduct a “national search” for Slive’s successor and will begin paring down candidates this fall. Conference presidents and chancellors will vote to choose the successor from a list of finalists.
The top candidate to replace Slive is Executive Associate Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Greg Sankey, though one would think Florida Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley may also be seriously considered.