College Football
Ohio State targeting Texas A&M's Ross Bjork to replace retiring AD Gene Smith
College Football

Ohio State targeting Texas A&M's Ross Bjork to replace retiring AD Gene Smith

Published Jan. 15, 2024 2:18 p.m. ET

Ohio State appears to know who it wants to succeed Gene Smith.

Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork is the top target to become Ohio State's next athletic director, FOX Sports' Bryan Fischer confirmed on Monday. 

Bjork, who has been at Texas A&M since 2019, would head to Columbus with more than a decade of experience as an athletic director. 


His most notable moves during his time at Texas A&M have been extending and then firing football coach Jimbo Fisher. In 2021, Bjork and the school gave Fisher an extension that was worth $9 million annually through the 2031 season. But after Fisher went 19-15 through the first three seasons of the extension, Texas A&M fired him, giving the coach a $77.5 million buyout, the largest in college football history. 

Beyond that, Bjork's other top moves at Texas A&M include hiring baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle away from TCU and hiring women's basketball coach Joni Taylor away from Georgia. Schlossnagle helped the Aggies reach the semifinals of the College World Series in his first year at Texas A&M, while the women's basketball team is 14-3 in Taylor's second season.

Bjork got his first athletic director role in 2010 at Western Kentucky. He became Ole Miss' AD just two years later. He oversaw Hugh Freeze during the football coach's five-year tenure in Oxford, which included success on the field but ended in a recruiting scandal. 

Smith, arguably the most notable college athletic director, announced in August that the 2023-24 academic year would be his last. Since his hiring in 2005, Smith has presided over Ohio State's continued success in football, hiring Urban Meyer and executing a succession plan for Ryan Day to replace Meyer in 2019. Smith has also been viewed as one of the more influential voices in the Big Ten, which signed the most lucrative media deal in college sports history and will expand to 18 teams this summer.

Smith's retirement will be effective as of June 30. 


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