Earlier today we learned that in the wake of controversy surrounding comments made over six months ago, Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee would be retiring, effective July 1st, 2013.
While Gee had become somewhat the low hanging fruit du jour for the lazy humor grenade lobbing national sports columnists around the country, most affiliated with Ohio State – even if only for athletic allegiances – stood by Gee for what they perceived as the net good he brought the university. Whether it was in terms of his masterful command of fundraising, or the way he warmly engaged with individuals in and around the Ohio State community, for often better but sometimes worse, he was *their* president, and they expected Gee to weather the events of the last week.
When push came to shove, whether he ultimately felt he was no longer effectively able to execute his duties as president, whether the powers that be in Ohio State inner circles felt his cavalier speech had become too much of a liability, or whether he'd simply decided it was time to move on, those who championed him (particularly in lieu of dissatisfactions with his successor, Karen Holbrook), will miss him.
Accordingly a number of figures in and around the Ohio State athletic community came out in support of President Gee after he announced his retirement. First, the Ohio State football coaching staff (including alum, Mike Vrabel):
Want to thank @presidentgee for providing leadership and direction to The Ohio State University. You will be missed.— Mike Vrabel (@CoachVrabel50) June 4, 2013
Thank you to @presidentgee for all he's done for Ohio State, our athletic department, and my family. He is a great leader and will be missed— Tom Herman (@CoachTomHerman) June 4, 2013
Then, Ohio State football players themselves:
How can you get rid of the best president in America for that? Brush it off and move on. Gordon gee is the man— MIKE BENNETT (@mike63bennett) June 4, 2013
Noooooo stay President Gee atleast one more yr 😫— Kenny G™ (@lowKeyG_13) June 4, 2013
We want Gee— Tommy Schutt (@TommySchutt) June 4, 2013
And then Ohio State's basketball players:
Dr. Gee was the man I hate it had to be him!— Amir Williams (@AW_23) June 4, 2013
And then even prospective student athletes:
In Gee We Trust— Kyle Berger (@K_Bergs) June 4, 2013
And finally, the alumni:
Jake Stoneburner (@STONEYeleven) June 4, 2013
Want to thank you @presidentgee for your excellent leadership and thank you for the opportunities you gave me. True Buckeye!!— DeVier Posey (@DPo8) June 4, 2013
THE coolest dude of all-time is stepping down. @presidentgee, I appreciate all the time we've hadtogether. Stay in touch. Stay awesome— Brian Hartline (@brianhartline) June 4, 2013
Former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett had one idea for a potential successor:
@jimtressel5 for OSU President??— Maurice Clarett (@ReeseClarett13) June 4, 2013
Finally, we heard from the man himself:
As my time as president draws to a close, know that my love for Ohio State will continue to grow. #HowFirmThyFriendship— E. Gordon Gee (@presidentgee) June 4, 2013