Former Ohio State athletic director Jim Jones, who held the position from 1987 to ’94, died of a stroke Wednesday at age 83.
Jones’ career at Ohio State spanned nearly 30 years, beginning as a physical education instructor in 1965 before working with Woody Hayes and Buckeye football as an academic adviser in 1967.
Jones was named associate athletic director in 1977, working under athletic directors Ed Weaver, Hugh Hindman and Rick Bay before taking Bay’s place to become the sixth athletic director at the university in 1987.
“Jim Jones had a significant and positive impact on my life,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in a university release Wednesday. “I will miss him greatly. He had a commitment to diversity and made a tremendous contribution to the growth of Ohio State athletics. Sheila and I share our condolences to Linda and his family.”
The Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, native’s career in athletic administration at the university overlapped with former university physician and team doctor Richard Strauss’ 1978 to ’98 tenure. In May 2019, an independent investigation concluded that Strauss, who died by suicide in 2005, abused more than 177 students and student-athletes during his time at the university and that Ohio State officials knew of the abuse and failed to act at the time. Jones declined to comment on his knowledge of Strauss’ actions while he was alive.
Jones retired from the athletic director position in 1994, the same year the NCAA leveled a one-year probation against Ohio State for recruiting violations from the men’s basketball program.
Ohio State’s Varsity O organization created the Jim Jones Award in 2018, an honor for Ohio State male letterwinners who “contributed to the honor and fame of Ohio State University,” according to the university release.
Jones is survived by his wife, Linda Jones; his daughter, Lynnae MaGinn; and two granddaughters.