Ohio State is focusing on Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork to grow to be the varsity’s subsequent athletic director, sources advised ESPN.
The hiring course of is within the ultimate levels, per the sources, with a conclusion anticipated within the coming days. Sources advised ESPN in current days that officers had reached out to different finalists and advised them they have been now not within the working.
Bjork’s anticipated hiring brings a paradigm shift for Ohio State athletics within the wake of the retirement of longtime athletic director Gene Smith, signaling a change in route underneath new president Ted Carter, who started his tenure in current weeks.
For years, the parlor sport at athletic director conventions had been: Which certainly one of Smith’s profitable Ohio State proteges would exchange him at Ohio State? There have been all the time loads of potential candidates who had labored underneath Smith, together with Washington State’s Pat Chun, Pitt’s Heather Lyke, Utah State’s Diana Sabau and UCLA’s Martin Jarmond.
Carter’s focusing on of Bjork signifies a choice for a contemporary begin over institutional data.
Bjork would arrive having simply fired Texas A&M soccer coach Jimbo Fisher, which got here at the price of the very best buyout within the historical past of the game. Texas A&M owes Fisher greater than $76 million of the absolutely assured deal. Bjork didn’t rent Fisher however was athletic director when the contract extension that led to the buyout was issued.
Within the wake of Fisher’s firing, Bjork executed an unartful teaching search that ended with the hiring of Mike Elko. It included a public courtship of Kentucky’s Mark Stoops that backfired, as Stoops finally ended up staying at Kentucky. Texas A&M shouldn’t be anticipated to make a push to maintain Bjork.
Bjork brings greater than a decade of SEC expertise. He labored at Ole Miss because the athletic director from 2012 to 2019 earlier than being employed at Texas A&M. Previous to Ole Miss, he was the athletic director at Western Kentucky and earlier than that, an affiliate or assistant AD at faculties together with UCLA, Miami and Missouri.
Ohio State looms as one of many high jobs in school athletics. Smith is ready to retire in July after 18 seasons, throughout which he emerged as one of many sport’s most revered voices. Eight instances throughout Smith’s tenure, Ohio State completed No. 1 within the Large Ten within the Director’s Cup standings.
Ohio State, which has 36 sports activities, has received 32 group and 117 particular person nationwide championships throughout Smith’s tenure.