Ohio State reaches into SEC to hire long-time athletics director to replace Gene Smith
Ohio State has found its replacement for Gene Smith as athletics director, and the Buckeyes found a new leader in Ross Bjork of Texas A&M.
Bjork will begin at Ohio State on July 1.
Bjork has been the AD at 3 different schools, and been at A&M since 2019. Previously, he was at Ole Miss from 2012-19 and Western Kentucky from 2010-12. Bjork previously worked in athletics departments at UCLA, Miami and Missouri.
Ohio State President Walter “Ted” Carter Jr. made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon and shared this statement: “Few athletics directors have established such an impressive and strong record of success in athletics, in the classroom and throughout the community,” Carter said. “The bar is incredibly high at Ohio State, and we have found in Ross a highly intelligent and effective leader – not to mention a fierce competitor.”
Notably about the current state of college sports, Bjork in 2021 provided input and guidance to leaders in the Texas legislature in the development of a name, image and likeness law. He then oversaw the creation of AMPLIFY and AMPLIFY Local Exchange, which equips student-athletes with education and resources related to finance, personal branding, networking and media training, Ohio State shared in the release.
“The college athletics landscape is changing each day, and Ohio State was firmly committed to finding an athletics director who would lead us with confidence and innovative thinking into the future,” said Hiroyuki Fujita, chair of the university’s Board of Trustees. “Ross Bjork possesses all the qualities we had envisioned – and more – and I am thrilled to welcome him to our Buckeye family.”
We’re welcoming a new athletics director this summer! Ross Bjork will begin his tenure at @OhioStAthletics on July 1. We’re looking forward to all he will accomplish as part of Buckeye Nation! ⭕️🙌https://t.co/HeMk2xpOr8
— Ohio State (@OhioState) January 16, 2024
Bjork was a fullback at Emporia State in Kansas where he earned a bachelor’s degree, and then earned a master’s degree from Western Illinois.
His mother is a native of Williamstown, Ohio, where she grew up on the family’s farm. She remains an ardent supporter of Ohio State’s marching band.
Bjork himself noted, “I have been extraordinarily blessed to be a product of college athletics as a student athlete and fortunate to work with so many outstanding student-athletes, coaches, staff and university leaders throughout my career, and Ohio State represents the culmination of these efforts,” Bjork said. “To be a part of Buckeye Nation, along with its storied traditions and long history of achievement, is a tremendous honor and a welcome challenge for me and our family. I can’t wait to get started.”