Former Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive died Wednesday at the age of 77. Slive was the SEC's commissioner from 2002 until he retired in 2015.
George Schroeder USA Today shared the news.
Ross Dellenger of The Advocate passed along a statement from the conference office:
"Mike Slive, the seventh commissioner of the Southeastern Conference and one of the most respected and accomplished leaders in the history of intercollegiate athletics, died Wednesday in Birmingham, Alabama, at the age of 77," the release read in part.
It also pointed to the success the conference enjoyed while he was commissioner and his role in developments such as television contracts and the SEC Network's launch.
Slive helped the SEC expand to 14 teams with the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri and was at the helm of the league as it grew into a football superpower. The SEC won seven straight national championships on the gridiron from 2006 through 2012.
It also won two women's basketball national championships and three men's basketball national championships during Slive's tenure, one of which came from the University of Kentucky.
Kentucky men's basketball head coach John Calipari was among those to react to Wednesday's news:
John Calipari @UKCoachCalipari
I am devastated tonight over the passing of my friend and mentor, Mike Slive. I knew Mike was not feeling great and, earlier this week, I wrote about his impact on my life. I shared this with Mike earlier today and wanted to share it with you, as well. https://t.co/yqiKZLjUQe https://t.co/x6QhXVhS40
Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports called Slive "one of the most influential people in college sports history" and praised him for ascending to such status "while maintaining dignity, humor and openness."
Schroeder pointed to his devotion to his family on top of his professional successes:
Slive was a prostate cancer survivor during his life, and Kevin Scarbinsky of AL.com wrote about his efforts to fight the disease in 2017. He became the namesake of the Mike Slive Foundation for Prostate Cancer Research, and the SEC designated 14 football games—one on the home campus of each school—as Mike Slive Prostate Cancer Awareness Games.
Slive is survived by his wife Liz, daughter Anna, son-in-law Judd Harwood and granddaughter Abigail.