Eugene D. Smith Leadership Institute to Provide Professional and Personal Development for Ohio State Student-Athletes

By Dan Hope on March 26, 2019 at 12:02 pm
Gene Smith

A newly minted institute named for Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith will provide professional and personal development opportunities for Ohio State's student-athletes.

Ohio State officially unveiled the Eugene D. Smith Leadership Institute on Tuesday, a three-pillar program that will provide leadership, character and career development to student-athletes across all Ohio State sports.

“We are excited to share with you a new initiative that we are so proud to have the opportunity to lead,” Carey Fagan, Ohio State's associate athletic director for sport administration and student-athlete development, said in a release. “Thanks to the unbelievable generosity of donors who are passionate about what we do, we have launched this comprehensive program for student-athletes to best prepare them for careers and life after graduation.”

The institute is comprised of three pillars: REAL LIFE, which focuses on career development and preparing student-athletes to enter the workforce; LIVE LIFE, which focuses on increasing social awareness and educating student-athletes about issues within each team and the community at-large; and LEADERSHIP, which will provide training for both coaches and student-athletes to enrich their individual leadership styles.

Urban Meyer, who brought the Real Life Wednesdays program to the football team during his seven years as the Buckeyes' head football coach, will head the Lead Like A Buckeye program – which works with captains and other team leaders from each of Ohio State's 36 varsity sports teams – as part of his new role as assistant athletic director of athletics initiatives and relations.

Smith told Eleven Warriors in an interview last month that Meyer is “bringing unbelievable value” to his new role because of the work he has already done with Ohio State's student-athletes.

“I think the thing will happen most over time is his engagement with the individual sports, helping the coaches with their programs, helping leadership within the individual teams,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of different things embedded. But bringing in a different element to that, and working with the student-athletes, because our mantra is get them from recruitment to career. Graduation is taken for granted; you’re going to do that here. But how do we make sure the 165 graduates that’ll walk this spring, they get a job – or they’re going to grad school, or they’re going pro – but the majority of them, a job.”

For more information on the Eugene D. Smith Leadership Institute, you can visit the initiative's newly launched website.

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