By Kirk Bohls
5 P.M. UPDATE:
Texas will interview three candidates for its men’s athletic director’s opening, but Ohio State’s Gene Smith will not be one of them.
Smith was considered for the position, but did not make the short list of finalists, a source familiar with the search confirmed to the American-Statesman on Thursday.
Smith, 57, has been Ohio State’s athletic director since 2005. He issued a statement Thursday saying he was staying put.
“I’m staying at Ohio State,” Smith tweeted.
“I have the greatest respect for the University of Texas and one of my mentors, DeLoss Dodds,” he later said in the statement. “… Reports of me interviewing at the University of Texas are innacurate.”
Add the name of Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith to the list of potential replacements for DeLoss Dodds at Texas.
Texas, which has been searching for a new athletic director since mid-October, will interview Smith as well as frontrunner Oliver Luck, the current West Virginia athletic director, and Arizona State athletic director Steve Patterson for the job, according to a highly placed source at a Big 12 school. North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham was also thoroughly vetted by Korn/Ferry, the international executive search firm that Texas hired to assist it in its hunt for Dodds, who will retire in August 2014 or earlier if a successor comes aboard before that date, but Cunningham apparently is not being pursued. Patterson has told FoxSports.com in Arizona that he has taken his name out of consideration, according to its source, but Texas president Bill Powers spokesman Gary Susswein told the American-Statesman, "No decisions, offers or hires have been made. We are still in the middle of the process. Any reports to the contrary are wrong."
One source with knowledge of the search told the American-Statesman on Wednesday that the search could culminate with a firm recommendation to the Board of Regents at its meeting on Nov. 13 in Austin.
Powers and some members of the eight-person advisory panel that Powers appointed to help guide the search will interview several candidates outside of Austin this weekend. A phone message left with Smith was not immediately returned.
Smith, 57, has served as Ohio State's athletic director since March 2005 and would seem to fill a lot of the criteria that Texas is looking for. He oversees a massive athletic department that, like Texas, is one of just a couple of dozen self-sufficient programs and has worked as an athletic director for 29 years. Before becoming athletic director at Ohio State, he served in that capacity at Arizona State, Iowa State and Eastern Michigan. He is the first African-American to serve as Ohio State's athletic director.
Smith has served as past president of the association of athletic directors (NACDA) and has been honored as the Athletic Director of the Year by the Sports Business Journal. Ohio State fields 36 different sports teams and has more than 1,000 athletes.