Reaction pours in on death of former SEC commish Mike Slive

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The news came late Wednesday afternoon from the office of the SEC.

Slive served as commissioner of the SEC from 2002 until his retirement in 2015. He was the first commissioner of Conference USA from 1999 to 2002, before accepting the role in the SEC.

Slive's accomplishments as SEC commissioner are many and notable. The league's 14 schools shared $455.8 million in 2014-15, his final year at the helm.

The SEC has become, along with the Big Ten, one of the richest leagues in the country, distributing more than $40 million to each of its full members previous year, according to the conference. Named to the post on July 2, 2002, the SEC enjoyed unprecedented championship success under Slive's leadership. Slive earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College before going on to receive a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law. These included the SEC Task Force on Compliance and Enforcement which developed policies and procedures to assist league schools in NCAA and SEC matters; SEC University (SECU), the conference's academic initiative; and an SEC Sportsmanship initiative consisting of policies and procedures created to foster sportsmanship and encourage positive fan behavior.

At the same, Slive was a soft-spoken family man. Before his passing, Slive saw his former conference take two of the four College Football Playoff spots thanks to the system he helped push through.

Slive's cause of death has not been officially confirmed, however, the former SEC commissioner has had health concerns through his career which ultimately led to his retirement.

"He was a friend before we worked together", he said. "We will all miss him terribly".

The SEC's success was not limited to football under Slive. "Not sure how many schools were under NCAA probation (when he started), but he didn't put up with that". Slive also instituted educational reforms and set up compliance workshops. Tackling the cancer with more treatments, Slive spent the past several years battling to stay alive. Slive took over as SEC commissioner from Roy Kramer and was replaced by Greg Sankey, who is the conference's current commissioner. It was a big story when Sylvester Croom was hired (in December 2003) at Mississippi State, and now we've had five (with Croom, Kevin Sumlin, Joker Phillips, James Franklin and Derek Mason), and it's a nonissue. "He was a wonderful friend to me and someone who I respected tremendously". "He was a brilliant leader who cared deeply about the people he led and the universities they represented".

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive congratulates Auburn running back Tre Mason after the 2013 SEC football title game in Atlanta.

In addition to his wife of 49 years, Liz, Mr. Slive leaves a daughter, Anna, and a granddaughter, the conference said.