The Ohio State football team will be losing its athletic director, Gene Smith, once he retires in June of 2024. Here are three candidates who could replace him.
The Ohio State football team and Athletic Director Gene Smith will part ways next year as Smith announced his retirement in June of 2024. The Athletic Director plays a major role within the football program so replacing him with someone who understands Ohio State football will be vastly important.
Smith has led the athletic department for 18 years. But we are 11 months away from having a new AD in Columbus. Here are three candidates that could replace Smith next July.
No. 1) Martin Jarmond, UCLA Athletic Director
Jarmond has to be at the top of the list for replacing Gene Smith. He was an Ohio State assistant AD from 2009 until 2017 when he became the Athletic Director at Boston College. After a three-year stint at BC, Jarmond moved on to UCLA where he helped the Bruins orchestrate their move into the Big Ten Conference.
He knows this Buckeye athletic department inside and out and was Gene Smith’s right-hand man for the last few years of his Ohio State tenure. With six years under his belt leading two power five conference athletic departments, I believe this will be Jarmond’s job if he wants it.
No. 2) Diana Sabau, Utah State Athletic Director
Sabau would be a logical candidate as she too was a former assistant AD under Smith from 2017 to 2021, She was also the Ohio State football administrator, where she was responsible for scheduling, and she helped broker a huge deal between Ohio State and Nike. In 2021 Sabau left to become a deputy commissioner of the Big Ten.
Last week Sabau was hired by Utah State as its Athletic Director. She would be a fascinating candidate and has over 30 years of college administrative experience. She would also be the first female athletic director in Ohio State’s history if hired.
No. 3) Joe Odoguardi, Ohio State deputy AD and CFO
Odoguardi would be the logical in-house candidate for the position. Serving in his current role since 2015, Odoguardi is responsible for the athletic department’s budget and spending. He was also responsible for handling all ticket sales and oversight.
Odoguardi has been a key member in having the Buckeye athletic department become one of the top athletic departments in terms of revenue and financial growth.