Tag Archive: Mike Slive

Coaches Hot Seat NFL Quotes of the Day – Friday, September 28, 2018 – Mike Slive

Love and Miss You Mike Slive!

MikeSlive1

MikeSlive8899

“The hostile atmospheres when you play on the road in this league are incomparable. If you can go through that [undefeated] and win this game, you deserve to be in the national championship game.”

And

“We really don’t have any concern about that. One thing this tragedy taught us is that we all need to be flexible.”

And

“The conference didn’t have to take any action of any kind,”

And

“Coaches develop relationships with these students, and if they come to believe in them as people, not just athletes, they want to give them the benefit of the doubt if they can. Not all of them make it. We know that. But we have given them the opportunity.”

And

“After reviewing all of the information, I felt this was the best decision for the game, … The safety of our student-athletes, coaches and fans is our priority.”

And

“One of the great things about the Southeastern Conference is our fans and our support — the importance of college football. On occasion that exuberance goes over the top. What we’d ultimately like to do is channel it on the field.”

And

“Hurricane Katrina has devastated the lives of victims in four of the SEC’s states, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, and may continue to do so for months and years to come,”

And

“The MVP program will raise awareness about issues that can adversely affect our student athletes. It is important for the SEC to be aware of the challenges facing our student-athletes so that we can assist them whenever possible.”

And

“Coach Vaught certainly was one of the great icons in SEC football. If you look at the list of names (of) great all-Americans from here that played for him … you just get a sense of what he’s meant to this conference.”

And

“We’ll evaluate everybody. But in terms of the work ethic and the commitment of our officials, I think it’s very strong.”

And

“I used to go to more games than I do now. Every game you see in person you probably miss somewhere between five and 10 games.”

And

“Right now, there is peace in the valley. We hope to keep it that way for a little while.”

And

“No one person, no matter how popular, can be allowed to derail the soul of an institution.”

And

Tony Barnhart on Mike Slive, SEC Sports, October 2014

“The first time I talked to Mike Slive was in a ballroom of the Hyatt-Regency Hotel in Atlanta. The year was 2002 and the event was a reception to honor Roy Kramer, who in March had announced that he was stepping down as commissioner of the SEC after an ultra-successful 12-year reign.

Among the invited guests was the diminutive, silver-haired former circuit court judge who was then serving as commissioner of Conference USA. I saw Slive and his wife, Liz, from across the room and made a mental note to say hello before the night was over.

“You probably need to do that,” said a friend of mine who worked at an SEC school. “I’m pretty sure he’s going to be your new commissioner.”

My first reaction to this news? I knew Slive was from the North (Utica, N.Y.) with an Ivy League background (Darmouth College). I knew he had hung out a shingle after U.Va. Law School and had worked in administration with the Pac-10 before becoming a commissioner. But that’s all I knew. And as someone who grew up in the SEC and had been covering the conference as a reporter for almost two decades, I didn’t see any way this guy could replace Roy Kramer.

Kramer was a former coach (he won a Division II national championship at Central Michigan), a former director of athletics (Vanderbilt), and one of the most brilliant men I’ve ever met. And he was tough. The football coaches listened to Kramer even when they didn’t agree with him because he had been one of them. The presidents and the athletics directors listened to Kramer because from Day 1 he was looking 10 years down the road and could see it very clearly.

I just didn’t know if someone with Slive’s background would have the gravitas to wrangle the collection of powerful people with egos to match that was the SEC at the beginning of the 21st century.

We had a short, cordial visit. I didn’t bring up what I had heard. It wasn’t the time because we were there to honor Commissioner Kramer. But his smile and his handshake let me know that we’d be seeing each other soon enough.

On July 2, 2002 Mike Slive was introduced as the seventh commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. After the formal press conference at the SEC offices in Birmingham he met with a smaller group of reporters in a conference room. From the minute he sat down Mike Slive was comfortably in charge of the room. His words were thoughtful and measured. Like a good lawyer he had anticipated the questions and had his answers ready.

He knew that there would be a learning curve to the job but was confident he could handle it. He knew that he had just been handed the keys to one of most powerful vehicles in the world of college athletics.

But he also knew that his job not to be a caretaker. Mike Slive realized that his challenge was to take the world-class franchise that Roy Kramer had helped to build and to make it into something even better. I left Birmingham that day with no doubt that he would be a great commissioner.

That was the first memory that raced back to me on Tuesday when Commissioner Slive announced that he would retire on July 31, 2015. He will remain on as a consultant for four years. In a brilliant 13-year run he has:

**–Turned the SEC from a strong regional brand into powerful national brand with long-term television contracts and the creation of the SEC Network, which launched on Aug. 14.

**–Presided over what was nothing less than the Golden Age of SEC football, with seven consecutive BCS championships from 2006-2012. Auburn was 13 seconds short of making it eight straight back in January.

**–Added two strong institutions-Texas A&M and Missouri-to an already strong conference.

**–Maintained an across-the-board commitment to all 21 sponsored sports, which have recorded a staggering 75 national championships during his tenure.

**–Introduced the proposal that would eventually become the four-team College Football Playoff, which begins his season.

**–Spearheaded the movement to give the Power Five conferences greater autonomy in the NCAA governance structure.

**–Through the force of his leadership, increased the SEC’s commitment to diversity. He created the SEC Minority Coaches Database. He made sure everybody in the conference understood that the SEC was not going to pay lip service to diversity. The SEC was going to live it. In 2011 Kentucky played Vanderbilt in the league’s first-ever meeting of African-American head football coaches. It wasn’t a big story. To Slive, that was a good thing.

**–Launched the SEC Academic Initiative, which used the power of the athletics brand to highlight and advance the great accomplishments of the members on the academic front.

The list of Slive’s accomplishments as commissioner goes on and on. But what I really want to share with you today is not what Mike Slive did but the way in which he did it.

He has been the ultimate consensus builder. Like the good lawyer who never asks a question to which he doesn’t already know the answer, Commissioner Slive would make sure he had the votes lined up before the meeting ever took place. And no matter what the vote actually was, it would be unanimous when Slive walked out of the room.

He has always understood the importance of strong coaches, but those coaches always understood who was in charge. In 2009 a number of the SEC football coaches had been sniping at each other in public. At the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin Slive walked into the room and read his coaches the riot act. Problem solved.

“I’d say the commissioner made his point,” Steve Spurrier told me after the meeting.

When Slive took over as commissioner he made it clear that he would have zero tolerance for schools that knowingly broke NCAA rules. The rules were also changed so that if one member had a problem with another member in the area of rules compliance, that complaint would first go through the SEC office.

When Auburn was left out of the BCS championship game with a 13-0 record in 2004, the commissioner started putting together the idea for the four-team college football playoff. Slive’s original version was called a “Plus-One” and he presented the idea to his fellow BCS commissioners during a meeting in South Florida in April of 2008. Only one other commissioner, the ACC’s John Swofford, supported it.

Slive’s idea was shot down and he was clearly disappointed when we talked in a hallway outside the meeting room. I asked the commissioner if he actually floated the idea just to set the table for 2012, when the current BCS deal was scheduled to end.

He just smiled.

In 2008 Slive knew his fellow commissioners weren’t ready to make the change. He was betting that four years later they would be ready. And he was right. When two SEC teams-LSU and Alabama-played for the 2011 BCS championship the commissioners came around to Slive’s way of thinking.

His work ethic is legendary. If you’re on Mike Slive’s staff, be prepared for 6:30 a.m. meetings at Starbucks. George Schroeder of USA Today wrote a wonderful piece on the commissioner last summer.

The Quiet Man:  Mike Slive’s placid approach to SEC power, George Schroeder, USA Today

In that piece Schroeder quotes Slive’s daughter, Anna, on his ability, at age 74, to still outwork men half his age.

“He only has two speeds,” she told Schroeder. “High and off.”

In the interest of full disclosure, I need to point out here that I’ve been fortunate to have a close personal and professional relationship with Commissioner Slive. I have used him as a sounding board when I have had to make some tough career decisions.

Each year, on the day before the Spring Meetings begin in Destin, we sit down for about an hour and reflect on where the conference has been and where it is going. Those conversations invariably turn personal and every year I ask how much longer he wants to go at this pace. Last May he just said: “You’ll see me until you don’t see me.”

In June of 2012 he became a grandfather for the first time. In August of 2012 I became a grandfather. And every meeting we’ve had since begins with the sharing of photos-his of Abigail and mine of Sloane.

That’s what I was thinking about when Commissioner Slive announced that he would retire next July. Because at the end of the day it’s really not about the money you make or the power you accumulate or the championships you win. It’s about the lives you have touched.

Mike and Liz Slive have touched a lot of lives in their time at the SEC. Lucky for us, they will do so for many years to come.”

Wikipedia:  Mike Slive

(more…)

Coaches Hot Seat Quotes of the Day – Thursday, May 17, 2018 – Mike Slive

 

Thanks Commissioner Mike Slive for all Your Great Work and the Exemplary Life You Lived!

#RIPMikeSlive

MikeSlive1

MikeSlive8899

“The hostile atmospheres when you play on the road in this league are incomparable. If you can go through that [undefeated] and win this game, you deserve to be in the national championship game.”

And

“We really don’t have any concern about that. One thing this tragedy taught us is that we all need to be flexible.”

And

“The conference didn’t have to take any action of any kind,”

And

“Coaches develop relationships with these students, and if they come to believe in them as people, not just athletes, they want to give them the benefit of the doubt if they can. Not all of them make it. We know that. But we have given them the opportunity.”

And

“After reviewing all of the information, I felt this was the best decision for the game, … The safety of our student-athletes, coaches and fans is our priority.”

And

“One of the great things about the Southeastern Conference is our fans and our support — the importance of college football. On occasion that exuberance goes over the top. What we’d ultimately like to do is channel it on the field.”

And

“Hurricane Katrina has devastated the lives of victims in four of the SEC’s states, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, and may continue to do so for months and years to come,”

And

“The MVP program will raise awareness about issues that can adversely affect our student athletes. It is important for the SEC to be aware of the challenges facing our student-athletes so that we can assist them whenever possible.”

And

“Coach Vaught certainly was one of the great icons in SEC football. If you look at the list of names (of) great all-Americans from here that played for him … you just get a sense of what he’s meant to this conference.”

And

“We’ll evaluate everybody. But in terms of the work ethic and the commitment of our officials, I think it’s very strong.”

And

“I used to go to more games than I do now. Every game you see in person you probably miss somewhere between five and 10 games.”

And

“Right now, there is peace in the valley. We hope to keep it that way for a little while.”

And

“No one person, no matter how popular, can be allowed to derail the soul of an institution.”

And

Tony Barnhart on Mike Slive, SEC Sports, October 2014

“The first time I talked to Mike Slive was in a ballroom of the Hyatt-Regency Hotel in Atlanta. The year was 2002 and the event was a reception to honor Roy Kramer, who in March had announced that he was stepping down as commissioner of the SEC after an ultra-successful 12-year reign.

Among the invited guests was the diminutive, silver-haired former circuit court judge who was then serving as commissioner of Conference USA. I saw Slive and his wife, Liz, from across the room and made a mental note to say hello before the night was over.

“You probably need to do that,” said a friend of mine who worked at an SEC school. “I’m pretty sure he’s going to be your new commissioner.”

My first reaction to this news? I knew Slive was from the North (Utica, N.Y.) with an Ivy League background (Darmouth College). I knew he had hung out a shingle after U.Va. Law School and had worked in administration with the Pac-10 before becoming a commissioner. But that’s all I knew. And as someone who grew up in the SEC and had been covering the conference as a reporter for almost two decades, I didn’t see any way this guy could replace Roy Kramer.

Kramer was a former coach (he won a Division II national championship at Central Michigan), a former director of athletics (Vanderbilt), and one of the most brilliant men I’ve ever met. And he was tough. The football coaches listened to Kramer even when they didn’t agree with him because he had been one of them. The presidents and the athletics directors listened to Kramer because from Day 1 he was looking 10 years down the road and could see it very clearly.

I just didn’t know if someone with Slive’s background would have the gravitas to wrangle the collection of powerful people with egos to match that was the SEC at the beginning of the 21st century.

We had a short, cordial visit. I didn’t bring up what I had heard. It wasn’t the time because we were there to honor Commissioner Kramer. But his smile and his handshake let me know that we’d be seeing each other soon enough.

On July 2, 2002 Mike Slive was introduced as the seventh commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. After the formal press conference at the SEC offices in Birmingham he met with a smaller group of reporters in a conference room. From the minute he sat down Mike Slive was comfortably in charge of the room. His words were thoughtful and measured. Like a good lawyer he had anticipated the questions and had his answers ready.

He knew that there would be a learning curve to the job but was confident he could handle it. He knew that he had just been handed the keys to one of most powerful vehicles in the world of college athletics.

But he also knew that his job not to be a caretaker. Mike Slive realized that his challenge was to take the world-class franchise that Roy Kramer had helped to build and to make it into something even better. I left Birmingham that day with no doubt that he would be a great commissioner.

That was the first memory that raced back to me on Tuesday when Commissioner Slive announced that he would retire on July 31, 2015. He will remain on as a consultant for four years. In a brilliant 13-year run he has:

**–Turned the SEC from a strong regional brand into powerful national brand with long-term television contracts and the creation of the SEC Network, which launched on Aug. 14.

**–Presided over what was nothing less than the Golden Age of SEC football, with seven consecutive BCS championships from 2006-2012. Auburn was 13 seconds short of making it eight straight back in January.

**–Added two strong institutions-Texas A&M and Missouri-to an already strong conference.

**–Maintained an across-the-board commitment to all 21 sponsored sports, which have recorded a staggering 75 national championships during his tenure.

**–Introduced the proposal that would eventually become the four-team College Football Playoff, which begins his season.

**–Spearheaded the movement to give the Power Five conferences greater autonomy in the NCAA governance structure.

**–Through the force of his leadership, increased the SEC’s commitment to diversity. He created the SEC Minority Coaches Database. He made sure everybody in the conference understood that the SEC was not going to pay lip service to diversity. The SEC was going to live it. In 2011 Kentucky played Vanderbilt in the league’s first-ever meeting of African-American head football coaches. It wasn’t a big story. To Slive, that was a good thing.

**–Launched the SEC Academic Initiative, which used the power of the athletics brand to highlight and advance the great accomplishments of the members on the academic front.

The list of Slive’s accomplishments as commissioner goes on and on. But what I really want to share with you today is not what Mike Slive did but the way in which he did it.

He has been the ultimate consensus builder. Like the good lawyer who never asks a question to which he doesn’t already know the answer, Commissioner Slive would make sure he had the votes lined up before the meeting ever took place. And no matter what the vote actually was, it would be unanimous when Slive walked out of the room.

He has always understood the importance of strong coaches, but those coaches always understood who was in charge. In 2009 a number of the SEC football coaches had been sniping at each other in public. At the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin Slive walked into the room and read his coaches the riot act. Problem solved.

“I’d say the commissioner made his point,” Steve Spurrier told me after the meeting.

When Slive took over as commissioner he made it clear that he would have zero tolerance for schools that knowingly broke NCAA rules. The rules were also changed so that if one member had a problem with another member in the area of rules compliance, that complaint would first go through the SEC office.

When Auburn was left out of the BCS championship game with a 13-0 record in 2004, the commissioner started putting together the idea for the four-team college football playoff. Slive’s original version was called a “Plus-One” and he presented the idea to his fellow BCS commissioners during a meeting in South Florida in April of 2008. Only one other commissioner, the ACC’s John Swofford, supported it.

Slive’s idea was shot down and he was clearly disappointed when we talked in a hallway outside the meeting room. I asked the commissioner if he actually floated the idea just to set the table for 2012, when the current BCS deal was scheduled to end.

He just smiled.

In 2008 Slive knew his fellow commissioners weren’t ready to make the change. He was betting that four years later they would be ready. And he was right. When two SEC teams-LSU and Alabama-played for the 2011 BCS championship the commissioners came around to Slive’s way of thinking.

His work ethic is legendary. If you’re on Mike Slive’s staff, be prepared for 6:30 a.m. meetings at Starbucks. George Schroeder of USA Today wrote a wonderful piece on the commissioner last summer.

The Quiet Man:  Mike Slive’s placid approach to SEC power, George Schroeder, USA Today

In that piece Schroeder quotes Slive’s daughter, Anna, on his ability, at age 74, to still outwork men half his age.

“He only has two speeds,” she told Schroeder. “High and off.”

In the interest of full disclosure, I need to point out here that I’ve been fortunate to have a close personal and professional relationship with Commissioner Slive. I have used him as a sounding board when I have had to make some tough career decisions.

Each year, on the day before the Spring Meetings begin in Destin, we sit down for about an hour and reflect on where the conference has been and where it is going. Those conversations invariably turn personal and every year I ask how much longer he wants to go at this pace. Last May he just said: “You’ll see me until you don’t see me.”

In June of 2012 he became a grandfather for the first time. In August of 2012 I became a grandfather. And every meeting we’ve had since begins with the sharing of photos-his of Abigail and mine of Sloane.

That’s what I was thinking about when Commissioner Slive announced that he would retire next July. Because at the end of the day it’s really not about the money you make or the power you accumulate or the championships you win. It’s about the lives you have touched.

Mike and Liz Slive have touched a lot of lives in their time at the SEC. Lucky for us, they will do so for many years to come.”

Wikipedia:  Mike Slive

(more…)

Coaches Hot Seat Quotes of the Day – Tuesday, July 12, 2016 – Mike Slive

 

MikeSlive1

The below is from May 2015 on Mike Slive

Over the last few months we have been giving a lot of thought to Mike Slive’s retirement from commissioner of the SEC Conference and Mike’s remarkable run with the SEC over the past 13 years, and there really isn’t a lot we could say in this space that hasn’t been said by lots of people already including the below piece by Tony Barnhart on Mike Slive that is a brilliantly written piece about a brilliant man.

A few years back several Coaches Hot Seat members were invited to a retirement party slash roast of a well-known tech executive who was being sent out in style at a lavish dinner and party at one of San Francisco’s finest hotels. The party and roasting lived up to our expectations as this very fine man retiring after forty years working at the highest levels of technology in Silicon Valley was getting the send-off that he rightly deserved meaning he was being praised and ribbed hard as he was walking out the door.

Everyone in the room that night was very excited to see what the last speaker of the night was going to say about the retiring honoree because that speaker had been in a multi-decade business battle with the well-known retiring tech executive, and there had been some bad blood along the way so the likelihood of some great lines was high and the speaker did not disappoint as he got off some zingers that we can’t even repeat in the Coaches Hot Seat Blog which is saying something!

After about 10 minutes of the last speaker giving it to the honored retiree good the speaker then went silent after he got off a great laugh line and didn’t say anything for what seemed like an eternity, but was only 30 seconds or so. The speaker then looked across the entire audience and then down the dais at the retiring executive and said to a hushed crowd:

“I would like to finish by saying that certainly “X” and I have had our disagreements over the years and I have cussed his ass out in private more times than I can count, but for anyone that doesn’t know it already let me make this abundantly clear. Not only has “X” been a Helluva competitor and terrific businessman over the years, but the world is a better place today because of the life this very fine man has lived and for that I Thank You “X” and wish you the very best of luck in the future.”
Of course, the audience that night rose to their feet to applaud that very accurate statement about “X” which was said in the most heartfelt way possible by a man everyone in that room respected to the utmost.

To Mike Slive from the 117 142 Members of Coaches Hot Seat:

The world is a better place today because of the life you have lived over the years and for that we Thank You and wish you the very best of luck in the future.

Thank You Mike Slive and hopefully one of us will make it to Hoover, Alabama in July and tell you that in person.

MikeSlive8899

“The hostile atmospheres when you play on the road in this league are incomparable. If you can go through that [undefeated] and win this game, you deserve to be in the national championship game.”

And

“We really don’t have any concern about that. One thing this tragedy taught us is that we all need to be flexible.”

And

“The conference didn’t have to take any action of any kind,”

And

“Coaches develop relationships with these students, and if they come to believe in them as people, not just athletes, they want to give them the benefit of the doubt if they can. Not all of them make it. We know that. But we have given them the opportunity.”

And

“After reviewing all of the information, I felt this was the best decision for the game, … The safety of our student-athletes, coaches and fans is our priority.”

And

“One of the great things about the Southeastern Conference is our fans and our support — the importance of college football. On occasion that exuberance goes over the top. What we’d ultimately like to do is channel it on the field.”

And

“Hurricane Katrina has devastated the lives of victims in four of the SEC’s states, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, and may continue to do so for months and years to come,”

And

“The MVP program will raise awareness about issues that can adversely affect our student athletes. It is important for the SEC to be aware of the challenges facing our student-athletes so that we can assist them whenever possible.”

And

“Coach Vaught certainly was one of the great icons in SEC football. If you look at the list of names (of) great all-Americans from here that played for him … you just get a sense of what he’s meant to this conference.”

And

“We’ll evaluate everybody. But in terms of the work ethic and the commitment of our officials, I think it’s very strong.”

And

“I used to go to more games than I do now. Every game you see in person you probably miss somewhere between five and 10 games.”

And

“Right now, there is peace in the valley. We hope to keep it that way for a little while.”

And

“No one person, no matter how popular, can be allowed to derail the soul of an institution.”

And

Tony Barnhart on Mike Slive, SEC Sports, October 2014

“The first time I talked to Mike Slive was in a ballroom of the Hyatt-Regency Hotel in Atlanta. The year was 2002 and the event was a reception to honor Roy Kramer, who in March had announced that he was stepping down as commissioner of the SEC after an ultra-successful 12-year reign.

Among the invited guests was the diminutive, silver-haired former circuit court judge who was then serving as commissioner of Conference USA. I saw Slive and his wife, Liz, from across the room and made a mental note to say hello before the night was over.

“You probably need to do that,” said a friend of mine who worked at an SEC school. “I’m pretty sure he’s going to be your new commissioner.”

My first reaction to this news? I knew Slive was from the North (Utica, N.Y.) with an Ivy League background (Darmouth College). I knew he had hung out a shingle after U.Va. Law School and had worked in administration with the Pac-10 before becoming a commissioner. But that’s all I knew. And as someone who grew up in the SEC and had been covering the conference as a reporter for almost two decades, I didn’t see any way this guy could replace Roy Kramer.

Kramer was a former coach (he won a Division II national championship at Central Michigan), a former director of athletics (Vanderbilt), and one of the most brilliant men I’ve ever met. And he was tough. The football coaches listened to Kramer even when they didn’t agree with him because he had been one of them. The presidents and the athletics directors listened to Kramer because from Day 1 he was looking 10 years down the road and could see it very clearly.

I just didn’t know if someone with Slive’s background would have the gravitas to wrangle the collection of powerful people with egos to match that was the SEC at the beginning of the 21st century.

We had a short, cordial visit. I didn’t bring up what I had heard. It wasn’t the time because we were there to honor Commissioner Kramer. But his smile and his handshake let me know that we’d be seeing each other soon enough.

On July 2, 2002 Mike Slive was introduced as the seventh commissioner of the Southeastern Conference. After the formal press conference at the SEC offices in Birmingham he met with a smaller group of reporters in a conference room. From the minute he sat down Mike Slive was comfortably in charge of the room. His words were thoughtful and measured. Like a good lawyer he had anticipated the questions and had his answers ready.

He knew that there would be a learning curve to the job but was confident he could handle it. He knew that he had just been handed the keys to one of most powerful vehicles in the world of college athletics.

But he also knew that his job not to be a caretaker. Mike Slive realized that his challenge was to take the world-class franchise that Roy Kramer had helped to build and to make it into something even better. I left Birmingham that day with no doubt that he would be a great commissioner.

That was the first memory that raced back to me on Tuesday when Commissioner Slive announced that he would retire on July 31, 2015. He will remain on as a consultant for four years. In a brilliant 13-year run he has:

**–Turned the SEC from a strong regional brand into powerful national brand with long-term television contracts and the creation of the SEC Network, which launched on Aug. 14.

**–Presided over what was nothing less than the Golden Age of SEC football, with seven consecutive BCS championships from 2006-2012. Auburn was 13 seconds short of making it eight straight back in January.

**–Added two strong institutions-Texas A&M and Missouri-to an already strong conference.

**–Maintained an across-the-board commitment to all 21 sponsored sports, which have recorded a staggering 75 national championships during his tenure.

**–Introduced the proposal that would eventually become the four-team College Football Playoff, which begins his season.

**–Spearheaded the movement to give the Power Five conferences greater autonomy in the NCAA governance structure.

**–Through the force of his leadership, increased the SEC’s commitment to diversity. He created the SEC Minority Coaches Database. He made sure everybody in the conference understood that the SEC was not going to pay lip service to diversity. The SEC was going to live it. In 2011 Kentucky played Vanderbilt in the league’s first-ever meeting of African-American head football coaches. It wasn’t a big story. To Slive, that was a good thing.

**–Launched the SEC Academic Initiative, which used the power of the athletics brand to highlight and advance the great accomplishments of the members on the academic front.

The list of Slive’s accomplishments as commissioner goes on and on. But what I really want to share with you today is not what Mike Slive did but the way in which he did it.

He has been the ultimate consensus builder. Like the good lawyer who never asks a question to which he doesn’t already know the answer, Commissioner Slive would make sure he had the votes lined up before the meeting ever took place. And no matter what the vote actually was, it would be unanimous when Slive walked out of the room.

He has always understood the importance of strong coaches, but those coaches always understood who was in charge. In 2009 a number of the SEC football coaches had been sniping at each other in public. At the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin Slive walked into the room and read his coaches the riot act. Problem solved.

“I’d say the commissioner made his point,” Steve Spurrier told me after the meeting.

When Slive took over as commissioner he made it clear that he would have zero tolerance for schools that knowingly broke NCAA rules. The rules were also changed so that if one member had a problem with another member in the area of rules compliance, that complaint would first go through the SEC office.

When Auburn was left out of the BCS championship game with a 13-0 record in 2004, the commissioner started putting together the idea for the four-team college football playoff. Slive’s original version was called a “Plus-One” and he presented the idea to his fellow BCS commissioners during a meeting in South Florida in April of 2008. Only one other commissioner, the ACC’s John Swofford, supported it.

Slive’s idea was shot down and he was clearly disappointed when we talked in a hallway outside the meeting room. I asked the commissioner if he actually floated the idea just to set the table for 2012, when the current BCS deal was scheduled to end.

He just smiled.

In 2008 Slive knew his fellow commissioners weren’t ready to make the change. He was betting that four years later they would be ready. And he was right. When two SEC teams-LSU and Alabama-played for the 2011 BCS championship the commissioners came around to Slive’s way of thinking.

His work ethic is legendary. If you’re on Mike Slive’s staff, be prepared for 6:30 a.m. meetings at Starbucks. George Schroeder of USA Today wrote a wonderful piece on the commissioner last summer.

The Quiet Man:  Mike Slive’s placid approach to SEC power, George Schroeder, USA Today

In that piece Schroeder quotes Slive’s daughter, Anna, on his ability, at age 74, to still outwork men half his age.

“He only has two speeds,” she told Schroeder. “High and off.”

In the interest of full disclosure, I need to point out here that I’ve been fortunate to have a close personal and professional relationship with Commissioner Slive. I have used him as a sounding board when I have had to make some tough career decisions.

Each year, on the day before the Spring Meetings begin in Destin, we sit down for about an hour and reflect on where the conference has been and where it is going. Those conversations invariably turn personal and every year I ask how much longer he wants to go at this pace. Last May he just said: “You’ll see me until you don’t see me.”

In June of 2012 he became a grandfather for the first time. In August of 2012 I became a grandfather. And every meeting we’ve had since begins with the sharing of photos-his of Abigail and mine of Sloane.

That’s what I was thinking about when Commissioner Slive announced that he would retire next July. Because at the end of the day it’s really not about the money you make or the power you accumulate or the championships you win. It’s about the lives you have touched.

Mike and Liz Slive have touched a lot of lives in their time at the SEC. Lucky for us, they will do so for many years to come.”

Wikipedia:  Mike Slive

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This Past Christmas From Young Baylor University Alum To Coaches Hot Seat > “The Baylor football program is out-of-control…..and in many ways it now runs Baylor University.” – Why Is Ken Starr Still Employed At Baylor University? – The Lessons That Can Be Learned From the Total Damn Disaster That Is Baylor Football – John Madden, the US Navy, Mike Slive, A Visiting Physicist And the FACT That Leaders MUST Lead!

 

It was truly a fall that defined the term “tragedy of Shakespearean proportions” for Art Briles to lose his job as the Baylor head football coach…

Baylor makes sweeping changes in leadership, releases some findings of Pepper Hamilton report, Waco Tribune

….after taking the Bears from a doormat in the Big 12 and in FBS College Football BUT if you have operated in and around the game of college football in America the last few years…Art Briles fall at Baylor is not as surprise at all.

Yes, there are plenty of coaches in the Big 12 and elsewhere in college football that could easily be classified as “jealous” toward Art Briles and what he was able to accomplish at Baylor, especially in the state of Texas, but we have a simple rule here at Coaches Hot Seat:

“If one person you trust says something that’s unproven it’s a rumor. If two people you trust say the same thing, that’s interesting. If three people you trust are saying the same thing, then that’s very Damn interesting. If four or more people you trust are saying the same thing, then it’s probably true.”

A few years ago we here at Coaches Hot Seat believing we have a network of contacts across college football that rivals and exceeds most members of the national media that covers CFB, started hearing “things” about the football program that Art Briles was running at Baylor and those “things” were that the Briles had a lot of shady characters on and around the Baylor football team, and that the ONLY thing that mattered to Art Briles was winning football games.

Now the above is what we were told by people who we don’t know well and who were just giving us their opinion, which admittedly could very well have been biased against Art Briles and his success at Baylor, but a few years ago….sometime in 2011 or 2012 since we cannot recall the exact date…a good friend of ours who lives in Texas and is related to Coaches Hot Seat member and has sent his two children to Baylor started saying some of the same things about the Baylor football program that we were hearing elsewhere. Where was our good friend and relative to a Coaches Hot Seat member getting his information from about the state of Baylor football program under Art Briles?

Answer: From his son who played high school football through the 12 th grade in Texas and who was a tough as Hell football player and who entered Baylor University as a regular student non-athlete in 2010.

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Last Christmas our Texas friend and his family came up to Aspen, Colorado for Christmas and a handful of Coaches Hot Seat members had our friend and his family over to the house for dinner one night, and after a great dinner that included many laughs, we got the Dad and Son into a conversation about Baylor football and we point-blank asked the Son about the Baylor football program and here was his short and sweet response:

“The Baylor football program is out-of-control…..and in many ways it now runs Baylor University.”

PERIOD. Nothing else needed to be said but we pressed the young man and his response was as Texas as the day is long in the Republic of Texas:

“That’s all I’m going to say, now tell us about the Stanford football program which is something Yall must be mighty proud of.”

PERIOD….END OF STORY.

In our opinion based upon what we have been told by dozens of people across college football, in the state of Texas, and by the Son of a good friend and relative of a Coaches Hot Seat member:

The Baylor Football Program was Out-of-Control under Art Briles and Art Briles was nothing less than an enabler of predators that he unleashed on the women of Baylor University and Waco, Texas in the name of winning football games.

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That’s our opinion as American Citizens and it’s also our opinion that Art Briles was allowed to run a rogue football program that was not controlled by the administration or athletic department at Baylor University and that today’s response by the regents of Baylor, although to-the-point, was still inadequate to the Total Damn Disaster that was allowed to happen at Baylor University over the past decade.

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There’s not a chance in Hell…in our opinion…that Art Briles…who is smart as a whip and pays very close attention to EVERY detail when it comes to his football team…didn’t know what was going on at Baylor and thus there is no reason to write in this spot that Art Briles should have been doing what the Great John Madden recommended when talking about what a coach should be listening for in and around his team…

“Coaches have to watch for what they don’t want to see and listen to what they don’t want to hear.”

….since there is no doubt in our minds that Art Briles knew what the Hell was going on with his football team BUT as for former Baylor University president Ken Starr who is now the Chancellor at the school for some reason instead of having his…

Ass Run Off the Baylor University Campus Today

….it’s the job of a college president…as it is for any leader of any company, organization, or university….to make Damn sure they are listening and watching very closely so they can understand what is going on and by any measure we can think of…

Ken Starr FAILED miserably in overseeing what became a rogue football program at Baylor University under Art Briles

….and Ken Starr should have like Art Briles had been fired on Thursday as well.

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We could go on for awhile about Art Briles and Ken Starr but needless to say it’s the unanimous opinion of the 147 members of Coaches Hot Seat that…

Art Briles and Ken Starr are Sorry Damn Excuses for Human Beings

…and it’s far better to talk about what we and others can learn about the Total Damn Disaster that was the Baylor Football program under Art Briles which was under the supervision of Ken Starr whether Candy Ass and Sorry Excuse for a Human Being Ken Starr is able to admit that FACT or not.

With the above in mind THREE quick stories for people that hope to learn something from the Debacle at Baylor which one can turn over in their minds as they consider what went wrong in Waco:

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In the early 1980s a Coaches Hot Seat member was a scholarship player on college golf team on the West Coast and his team went on a trip to San Diego to play in a golf tournament during the Fall golf season. The coach of the college golf team was very lenient on his team discipline-wise letting the young men be young men when traveling for tournaments, but he did have one ironclad rule:

At golf tournaments away from home all golfers had a curfew of 10PM and had to be in their rooms by 10PM and were not to leave their rooms unless there was a fire or they were going to the soda or ice machine until they went down to the lobby for breakfast in the morning.

Well, one night about 11PM one of the golfers wanted to get a soda with ice in it from the 7-Eleven which was across the street from the hotel and he left his room and walked across the street returning to his room in less than 15 minutes. Little did that golfer know the coach who was sitting on his balcony watched the golfer leave the hotel, walk across the street to the 7-Eleven, and come back with a soda. The next morning the coach took the player who went out after curfew the night before aside and told him he was suspended from the team for the remainder of the Fall and the entire Spring term for breaking the curfew, and then later told the whole team the same thing at breakfast.

Needless to say the above was quite a shock to the rest of the college golf team, but everyone knew the rules and the player who lost more than a semester of playing golf knew the rules and didn’t follow them, and be assured not only did no golfers leave the hotel after curfew again, but they were perfect citizens as well on the golf course, in the classroom, and while out in public.

Many might say that expectations were set at a very high level by then and especially today’s standards by this college golf coach, but the critical point was that “Expectations for behavior” were set and if a member of the golf team didn’t live up to those expectations:

They were DONE…at least for awhile….and as far we can tell at Baylor University under Art Briles…there were NO expectations for proper behavior by Baylor football players…which is of course our opinion.

A Second and Third Quick Story….

Leaders MUST Lead and with that simple phrase in mind Leaders must also be able to look-up the road and figure out what is, could, might, or probably is going to happen and it’s often a Leader seeing something that might happen in the future and reacting in today’s world that staves off something bad happening in the future.

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Case #1 in Point: A couple of Coaches Hot Seat members were serving in the US Navy on the same ship together in the Summer of 1990 when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and the crewmembers of that ship shortly thereafter learned they were going to be deploying the Persian Gulf in support of what became Operation Desert Storm in the Winter of 1991 which ousted Saddam Hussein and Iraqi military forces from Kuwait.

During the Fall of 1990 when preparing the ship and its personnel for deployment to the Persian Gulf the officers of the ship were of course reading all the intelligence they could on what kind of capabilities and military strength that Iraqi military forces could bring to bear against an US Navy ship in the Persian Gulf. In one particular intelligence briefing message the following appeared…paraphrased since it was so long ago….

“Iraqi Navy assets are now dropping mines into the northern Persian Gulf that were provided by the Soviet Union many years ago. These mines are not tethered in one spot with a weight on the bottom of the Persian Gulf as they were designed to be used, but rather are now just floating around the Persian Gulf free with the prevailing current. Prepare your crews for spotting and handling all of the following types of Soviet mines X, Y, Z.”

Needless to say the above scared the Hell out of the officers of the US Navy ship which could be sunk by the type of Soviet-provided mines that the Iraqi Navy was dropping into the Persian Gulf and with that in mind the Commanding Officer and Executive Officer put into place a plan to deal with those mines when the ship got to the Gulf region by focusing on training lookouts to spot mines, how exactly the ship would destroy the mines when they found them, and what would the ship do if it hit a mine. To make a long story short the crew of the ship was incredibly well-prepared for handling any and all mine-related issues during Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf and ended up finding and destroying over a dozen Soviet-made mines that the Iraqis had dropped into the Gulf. We can also report that one of the scariest Damn things in the world is sailing in the Persian Gulf knowing there are hundreds of loose mines floating around at NIGHT when there was a very good chance that if the ship had hit one of those mines the ship would have been tremendously damaged causing many casualties in the process.

Leaders MUST Lead but they also must be able to look around corners and see what is or might be coming that could doo damage to an organization and once they begin to start anticipating that something might happen they put into place a plan to deal with that issue BEFORE IT HAPPENS so that the problem can be avoided and sometimes put the organization into a better spot going forward.

Case in Point #2 with the “sometimes put the organization into a better spot going forward” thought in mind….

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A few years ago then SEC Commissioner Mike Slive was considering the idea of starting a network for the SEC Conference following the steps of the Big Ten and Pac-12 Conferences who created their own networks, and in a joint venture between the Walt Disney Company (80% ownership) and the Hearst Corporation (remaining 20% interest) it was announced in 2013 that ESPN would own and run the SEC Network via the above joint-venture between Disney and Hearst in partnership with the SEC Conference.

The deal for the SEC Network and ESPN is a 20-year agreement between ESPN and the SEC Conference through 2034 which was launched in August 2014 right before the kick-off of the 2014 college football season, and if one now flashes-forward to 2016 the 20-year deal that then SEC Commish Mike Slive hammered out with ESPN seems incredibly far-sighted because ESPN has pulled-back in many ways from paying a lot for programming which would make the same deal between ESPN and the SEC a very hard thing to get done today, if not downright impossible.

Mike Slive, unlike Pac-12 Commish Larry Scott, was in our minds doing something that Leaders MUST Do which is to look forward and to anticipate as best as possible what might be coming around the bend, and then put into place policies and actions that can stave off future problems before they happen or in this case with Mike Slive cut a deal with ESPN to create the SEC Network in 2014….seizing an opportunity for the SEC Conference before the window was shut and before the pull-back by ESPN in the amount of money it is now willing to spend on sports programming.

The point of the above two stories is this…

Leaders MUST Lead and both the Commanding Officer of the US Navy ship that Coaches Hot Seat members were serving on and Mike Slive as Commissioner of the SEC Conference were pointedly…some might say aggressively…looking into the future anticipating what might very well happen and eventually did happen…and then reacting in today’s world to something that they believe was going to happen a few months or few years down the road.

A couple of months ago the Great Andy Grove passed away and for those that don’t know who Andy Grove is, Andy was a Silicon Valley legend and one of the founders and longtime CEO + Chairman of the Intel Corporation. A few lucky souls at Coaches Hot Seat got to work with Andy Grove at Intel, and learned the lessons of his great book, Only The Paranoid Survive….

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…and in that book Andy Grove wrote the following which Leaders should read, understand, and act on if they hope to remain a successful Leader of their organization into the future.

“You need to try to do the impossible, to anticipate the unexpected. And when the unexpected happens, you should double the efforts to make order from the disorder it creates in your life. The motto I’m advocating is — Let chaos reign, then rein chaos. Does that mean that you shouldn’t plan? Not at all. You need to plan the way a fire department plans. It cannot anticipate fires, so it has to shape a flexible organization that is capable of responding to unpredictable events.”

Leaders MUST Lead…PERIOD.

No…we here at Coaches Hot Seat do not feel sorry for Art Briles or any of the other Sorry Excuses for Human Beings that allowed the Baylor Football program to become “Out-of-Control” and we include Ken Starr among that group since after all…

Ken Starr was the Freaking President of Baylor University

…but we for Damn sure feel sorry for the young women at Baylor University and around Waco, Texas that were subjected to a direct attack on their lives in the name of winning football games….Oh we feel terrible about that…as would any Real Human Being that has a Soul.

A few years ago at a dinner at the house of one of our college physics professors there was a visiting physics professor from an Ivy League school who was studying on the West Coast for the Summer term who joined us for dinner and conversation one night. After dinner the discussion turned to…as it usually does when we get together with this particular physics professor….to the unanswerable questions about the universe and our lives on this Earth…and while discussing a potential after-life and consciousness of the human mind the visiting Ivy League professor said a very interesting if not startling thing…paraphrased since it was a few years ago:

“Just as one goes about creating his or her life on this Earth…all be it not in control of many things that humans experience in their daily lives….there is an argument to be made that the human mind…or rather the soul within the mind’s consciousness…creates the potential after-life they imagine in their mind as well.”

Coaches Hot Seat member: “What do you mean by that?”

Visiting Ivy League Professor: “Einstein once said…”Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one”…and if reality…all that is around us..all that we experience…is just an illusion created by our very powerful brains that we use only a tiny sliver of…then maybe our minds creates the after-life that we imagine as well. In other words….maybe in the end….the after-life we end up getting is the one we have imagined and created in our minds while we are still alive.”

Damn…and if the above is true and if Art Briles has been sincere about his faith in his life on this Earth then we have some news for Art Briles:

You will answer for your actions Art Briles….and appropriately so in a manner consistent with the faith that your profess to follow.