When Kentucky coach John Calipari counted former Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive as one of his closest friends and said he was largely responsible for his hiring at Kentucky in 2009.
Reaction immediately came pouring in from media and fans alike.
Very sad news: Former SEC commissioner Mike Slive passed away today in Birmingham.
Mike Slive served as the SEC Commissioner from 2002-2015, overseeing tremendous growth for the conference in pretty much all major sports. He was named to the post in 2002. 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.
"Obviously, Dr. Lee Todd and Mitch Barnhart made the decision to hire me, but my friend, guardian, and mentor Mike Slive was instrumental in me becoming the coach at Kentucky Calipari said on his website".
The Mike Slive Foundation for Prostate Cancer Research was founded after he retired to help raise awareness for the disease, with MikeSliveFoundation.org accepting donations for those who wish to help support the cause. In total, the conference captured 81 national titles in 19 different sports during his time as leader.
"I was blessed to come into this league the same time Mike Slive became our commissioner". When he first became commissioner of the SEC, the league had nine schools either on NCAA probation or under NCAA investigation.
"Mike Slive literally changed the world through his life".
Slive is survived by his wife, Liz; daughter Anna, son-in-law Judd Harwood; and granddaughter, Abigail. He was a friend when we were colleagues.
During his career, Slive served on the Bowl Championship Subdivision selection committee as well as the Men's Basketball Division-1 Selection Committee. Slive was also a driving force behind what eventually became the College Football Playoff. We will miss him for his work and especially for his compassion. He was the founding commissioner of both the Great Midwest Conference and C-USA. Following 12-0 Auburn's exclusion from the BCS Championship in 2004, Slive began campaigning for a four-team playoff in college football.