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Michael Slive, Who Led the SEC to New Heights, Is Dead at 77

Michael L. Slive, the previous Southeastern Convention commissioner who was once instrumental in turning it into arguably essentially the most distinguished school sports activities convention within the nation, died on Wednesday in Birmingham, Ala. He was once 77.

His dying was once introduced by way of the SEC. The convention didn’t specify a motive.

Slive, who changed into the convention commissioner in 2002, was once an influential champion for the Faculty Soccer Playoff, which was once applied in 2014. And he thought to be it crucial a part of his legacy that, in 2003, Mississippi State made Sylvester Croom the primary black head soccer trainer within the convention’s historical past.

“It was once transparent it was once no longer handiest an athletic choice,” Slive advised The Occasions in 2015. “It impacted the state, the area, and it in reality helped vault the SEC from a regional to a countrywide convention.”

When Slive joined the league after leaving his process because the Convention USA commissioner, the SEC, a convention as proud as its area, had a number of contributors mired in N.C.A.A. sanctions, and within the earlier decade had received simply 3 titles in its signature game, soccer. With a background in compliance — he was once a attorney (and previous pass judgement on) who had represented colleges in N.C.A.A. problems — he instituted a compliance initiative that helped blank up the league.

Slive, who stepped down as SEC commissioner in 2015 to maintain a recurrence of prostate most cancers, is survived by way of his spouse of 49 years, Liz, in addition to a daughter, Anna, and a granddaughter, the convention stated.

Right through his tenure, SEC groups received 8 soccer titles, together with a run of 7 in a row. Led by way of the dominance of Alabama, SEC soccer changed into a countrywide sensation and a regional obsession, with a four-days-long convention media consultation outdoor Birmingham that pulls masses of fanatics once a year. The league has additionally loved main good fortune in baseball, gymnastics and girls’s basketball, and its good fortune in soccer set the root for a renewed center of attention on males’s basketball.

Below Slive, the SEC was once a winner all over the newest bout of convention realignment, including Missouri and Texas A&M to its ranks in 2012. Two years later, it introduced the SEC Community in partnership with ESPN. The SEC has turn into, along side the Large Ten, one of the crucial richest leagues within the nation, distributing greater than $40 million to each and every of its complete contributors remaining yr, in line with the convention.

A local of Utica, N.Y., who attended Dartmouth and the College of Virginia Regulation Faculty, Slive was once identified for peppering his annual kick-off addresses at media days with allusions: to Mark Twain and “Celebrity Wars,” James 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley and Nelson Mandela.

Record the convention’s achievements in 2014, he added, “As Muhammad Ali stated, ‘It’s no longer bragging if you’ll be able to again it up.’”

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