Buckeyes hire Bjork from Texas A&M to be AD

Ross Bjork has made the jump from Texas A&M to Ohio State to be the new athletic director for the Buckeyes, it was announced Tuesday.

Bjork’s hiring brings a paradigm shift for Ohio State athletics in the wake of the retirement of longtime athletic director Gene Smith, signaling a change in direction under new president Ted Carter, who began his tenure in recent weeks.

“Few athletics directors have established such an impressive and strong record of success in athletics, in the classroom and throughout the community,” Carter said in a statement. “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.”

Bjork, 51, will work with Smith on the transition and will officially begin his tenure with the Buckeyes on July 1.

“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 in a statement. “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.”

Bjork brings more than a decade of SEC experience. He worked at Ole Miss as the athletic director from 2012 to 2019 before being hired at Texas A&M. Prior to Ole Miss, he was the athletic director at Western Kentucky and before that, an associate or assistant AD at schools including UCLA, Miami and Missouri.

Bjork had just fired Texas A&M football coach Jimbo Fisher, which came at the cost of the highest buyout in the history of the sport. Texas A&M owes Fisher more than $76 million of the fully guaranteed deal. Bjork did not hire Fisher but was athletic director when the contract extension that led to the buyout was issued.

In the wake of Fisher’s firing, Bjork executed a coaching search that ended with the hiring of ex-Duke coach Mike Elko.

Bjork helped guide leaders in the Texas legislature in the development of the new NIL law. He also oversaw the creation of programs to equip student-athletes with education and resources related to finance, personal branding, networking and media training.

Ohio State looms as one of the top jobs in college athletics. Smith is set to retire in July after 18 seasons, during which he emerged as one of the sport’s most respected voices. Eight times during Smith’s tenure, Ohio State finished No. 1 in the Big Ten in the standings of the Directors’ Cup, which recognizes schools with the most success across college athletics.

Ohio State, which has 36 sports, has won 32 team and 117 individual national championships during Smith’s tenure.

ESPN’s Pete Thamel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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