|Ohio State president Gee looks forward to screaming for Buckeyes|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 22 December 2007 09:22|
Colorful, talkative and forceful Gordon Gee is back for a second time as president of the nation's largest single-campus university. After a decade away at Brown and Vanderbilt, he's savoring his time as the head of a perpetual gridiron power, while decrying the notion of football factories.
Gee will be in the stands at the Louisiana Superdome on Jan. 7 when the Buckeyes take on LSU in the Bowl Championship Series national title game. He wouldn't want to be anyplace else.
``Last year I think I went to the Renaissance Weekend, which is where a lot of very smart people get together and talk for four days about very important issues,'' Gee said. ``This year I'm going to go down and scream like hell. So, yes, my life has changed, absolutely.''
During the Buckeyes' recent bowl media day, Gee, rehired in January to replace Karen Holbrook, was drawing a crowd that rivaled the ones surrounding star running back Chris ``Beanie'' Wells and All-American linebacker James Laurinaitis.
Gee, about half the size of either player, held court on a variety of topics:
-On how football wins change a university's fundraising: ``There's a lot of data that shows that a great football season does not a great fundraising year make. What it does show, and I've been a part of this for a long time on all sides of the equation, winning and losing, is that it creates an unbelievable level of support and spirit for the university among its alumni and among its friends.''
-On Bobby Petrino leaving the NFL Atlanta Falcons before completing a season in order to jump back into college head coaching at Arkansas: ``I think Bobby Petrino's latest act is just another idea of what is wrong with the profession. Here we tell our players that they live by a certain set of rules and regulations and yet we don't hold our coaches to the same standard. I think that's wrong. I think we need to recalibrate that.''
to something like that - then they'll go home and break the rules.''
-On diversity among college head coaches: ``I have a great friend, (Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator) Norm Chow, who is Chinese. And Norm has never an opportunity to be a head coach, much, I think, because he's Chinese.''
-On whether Ohio State coach Jim Tressel ever asks him to help recruit players: ``I was there last Saturday and was privileged to be with a great group of young men. Hopefully I didn't send them fleeing.''
-On Tressel's value as a head coach: ``I'm grateful to be back in the public sector in which I earn less money than the football coach. So the world is back in balance. I think that all this stuff has run away when you think about the purpose of education, the purpose of universities and that we are paying these extraordinary salaries. Now, the market demands it. And so we live in a market economy. Nonetheless I can rail against it.''
(Gee makes $1 million a year not counting a mansion and six-figure entertainment tab. Tressel makes more than $2.6 million and men's basketball coach Thad Matta around $2.5 million.)
-On whether he talked to athletic director Gene Smith and Tressel before voting to add a bye week to the Big Ten football season starting in 2009: ``I did not. I discussed it with them afterward and said, 'Oops.' No. We all kind of salute the flag together. As I said, the difference between Vanderbilt and Ohio State is that at Vanderbilt the athletic director worked for me. It's a different culture, folks, and I'm learning.''