Ohio State names Jocelyn Gates to oversee football program as associate athletic director


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State has hired Jocelyn Gates as a senior associate athletic director with oversight of the football program, the school announced Monday.

Gates comes from Boston College — where she oversaw the women’s basketball, women’s soccer and both golf programs — after nearly four years. She previously worked at South Florida, Duke and the NCAA.

“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,” Gates said in a university news release.

Gates is the wife of Cleveland State men’s basketball coach Dennis Gates, and she said the couple is excited to be only two hours apart. They have two children, and she is due “any day now” with their third.

“I want women to know you can be moms and you can be in this business,” Gates said during her introductory news conference. “We can do everything.”

Gates replaces Diana Sabau, who joined the Big Ten in March as deputy commissioner. Her appointment was announced by senior deputy athletic director Janine Oman.

“Jocelyn is a connector who excels at building relationships and is committed to providing our student athletes’ exceptional experiences,” Oman said. “Her varied and impressive background in intercollegiate athletics will greatly benefit our team.”

Gates said she considers it important for student-athletes to see a Black woman in an administrative role in football.

“I do not take lightly that I’m a woman in this business who has great opportunities, and a Black woman in this business – you don’t see that often – to oversee football,” she said. “That is so important for me, and that’s important for the student-athletes to see as well. … You can excel; there are faces like your own; you have people who support you and have people that have your back.”

She was familiar to Ohio State officials through Martin Jarmond, who was a deputy athletic director at Ohio State before being hired by Boston College for its top position. In 2019, BC hired Ohio State defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley as its football coach, and Gates joked that the last time she was in Columbus was to hire him away.

At South Florida, among Gates’ duties was scheduling for the football team and serving as Title IX coordinator. At Duke, she served as an assistant director of an annual fund and as an assistant to the athletic director. And at the NCAA, she worked a postgraduate internship in the diversity and inclusion department.

She is a native of Wilmington, Delaware, and a 2003 graduate of Howard University, where she played soccer. After receiving her degree in biology from Howard, she earned a master’s in kinesiology-sport psychology from Georgia Southern in 2008 and is now pursuing an executive doctor of education.

In 2020, Gates was named the NCAA Division I FBS administrator of the year.

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