After his name first began making the rounds earlier this week, the Ohio State student paper, The Lantern, is reporting that UC Irvine chancellor Michael Drake is expected to be named the next president at the Ohio State University. Drake would succeed interim president Joseph Alutto and before him Gordon Gee, now the interim president at West Virginia University.
Drake's background is a medical one (he served as director of admissions at UCSF's med school and has long held an appointment in the Opthalmology department there), which could suggest that this hire could be related to the James Cancer Medical Center's importance to the university. Irvine, a major medical research institution (though also a land – and space – grant institution) doesn't have near the athletic background of a revenue sports power like Ohio State, but that could explain Gene Smith's new title of "vice president" and could foreshadow an increased reliance on Smith's professional experience in that regard.
Perhaps most noteworthy, Drake, who's 62 years old, was able to run a sound university from a fundraising standpoint during the age of austerity in which not only the entire university system but state of California faced major budgetary issues. Though fiscal allocations were very tenuous, Drake took a proactive fundraising role which could make him very appealing to a large endowment possessing university like Ohio State.
From an athletics vantage (while obviously far from priority one in a search like this), Irvine's greatest accomplishments under Drake's tenure as presidency was their first ever College World Series appearance in 2007. The men's volleyball team also won a national championship. From a revenue sport standpoint, the Anteaters don't sponsor FBS football, though their men's basketball team made the CIT this past season.
Is this hire a good one? Are you surprised former Ohio State provost Barbara Snyder from Case Western didn't get the nod? Let us know in the comments below.