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What Jocelyn Gates brings to Buckeyes in key staff role

Spencer Holbrook06/07/21
Ohio State has a new key behind-the-scenes staffer. (Courtesy/Ohio State Dept. of Athletics)

COLUMBUS — Ohio State has replaced one of its key behind-the-scenes athletic department staff members.

The Ohio State athletic department filled the position of senior deputy athletic director with a focus on the football program Monday morning. Jocelyn Gates, the 2020 NCAA Division I FBS Nike Administrator of the Year, will start in that role immediately.

On top of the role with the football program, Gates’ responsibilities at Ohio State will also include serving as the liaison for the Compliance and Student-Athlete Support Services office. She will lead the athletic department’s Diversity and Inclusion wing and will have oversight of an additional sport.

Gates comes to Ohio State from Boston College, where she was the Senior Associate Athletics Director & Senior Woman Administrator. Now she’ll help Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith handle one of the largest football programs in the entire country.

“I am both honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to serve one of the most storied programs in college athletics,” Gates said in an Ohio State press release. “The Ohio State University has an unwavering commitment to academic and athletic excellence. I would like to thank both Gene Smith and Janine Oman for their support during this process and for the opportunity they have given me to join a wonderful team.

“Additionally, Ohio State’s tradition of excellence on the football field is second to none, and having the chance to work directly with this championship football program will be, without question, an incredible opportunity to continue serving student-athletes and coaches at the highest level. My family and I are thrilled to join the Buckeye team.”

Gene Smith-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State athletic director

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith will work with Jocelyn Gates in her new role. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Gates takes over for Diana Sabau, who left her post in that role after four years to take a position with the Big Ten office in May.

Sabau was critical for the football program. After taking a larger role with the football team in 2017, Sabau helped secure the 2027 and 2028 home-and-home series with Alabama. She also helped land nonconference games with Texas, Washington and Notre Dame over the next decade. Sabau played a role in Buckeyes branding and partnership agreements with Nike, Gatorade, Coke and Learfield IMG.

Her relationship with Smith and the Ohio State football program helped the Buckeyes widen the gap with the rest of the Big Ten and most of college football.

Those responsibilities now fall on Gates.

Before her time at Boston College, Gates had four years of experience at South Florida, where she was a Title IX liaison and in charge of improving student-athlete experiences and had a hand in day-to-day operations, including scheduling, and Duke, where she was the Special Assistant to the Vice President/Athletic Director. She also worked for the NCAA as an intern in the diversity and inclusion department.

“I’d like to welcome Jocelyn to Ohio State University and compliment Janine Oman on a very successful search process,” Smith said in the release. “Jocelyn is a highly successful sport administrator with a diverse background of experiences.”

Gates has experience overseeing success for women’s basketball, soccer, golf and other athletic programs during her career as an administrator.

Now Jocelyn Gates will help guide one of the biggest, best and most powerful brands in college athletics. She is the new senior associate athletic director with a focus on football.

And the athletic department has filled one of its key behind-the-scenes positions in the football office.