Mike Slive: Why the SEC and I call Birmingham our home

Mike Slive, Commissioner SEC
Mike Slive, Commissioner SEC

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

When I became commissioner of the Southeastern Conference in 2002, I knew little about Birmingham and its surrounding communities.  I was drawn to the position by the prestige of the conference, the commitment of the league’s institutions and the passion of its fans.   I was aware of its proud history, impressed by its success and intrigued by its future.

But for the city I was going to call home, my knowledge was limited.  That soon changed.

My family was welcomed with open arms and it did not take long for us to feel the warmth of the people and to be impressed by the pride they have for their community.  While our affection for the city has steadily increased year after year, it took a new place in my heart in May of 2012 upon the arrival of my granddaughter, Abigail, here in Birmingham.

Birmingham is a thriving 21st century metropolis with a collection of old style villages that retain a stronghold on tradition while pursuing the potential of the future.  I enjoy the bustling early-morning coffee houses, the family owned eateries and the kid-friendly ice cream parlors.

My granddaughter plays in parks and on playgrounds that tell me Birmingham cares about its families.  My family, friends and colleagues worship in an array of churches and temples that paint a picture of a strong diversity of beliefs.

There is entertainment for everyone, from sports fans to cultural enthusiasts.  Big time sporting events from the SEC Baseball Tournament to NCAA Championships to world class golf tournaments fill the calendar here while entertainers from across the spectrum populate our concert halls and arenas and amphitheaters with regularity.

For my profession, Birmingham is especially delightful.  The fierce Iron Bowl rivalry is well documented, but what many outsiders overlook in Birmingham is the tapestry of fandom for schools across the SEC.  Smaller in numbers but equally passionate, we have fans of Razorbacks, Gators, Wildcats, Rebels, Gamecocks, Volunteers, Aggies and Commodores, plus several versions of Bulldogs and Tigers that make Birmingham the perfect headquarters of the Southeastern Conference.

Underlying the beauty of the hills and green of our community are the people who wake early and work late, play long and care deeply.  We are indeed lucky.  This is a special place, and my family and I are proud to call it home.

Mike Slive was named the seventh commissioner of the Southeastern Conference on July 2, 2002, and uses his role as leader of the SEC as a force for positive change in intercollegiate athletics. Slive has made a major impact on many different levels of intercollegiate athletics and since his arrival at the SEC, he has developed initiatives designed to maintain and improve the SEC’s position as one of the top intercollegiate athletics conferences in the nation, both on and off the fields of play.

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David Sher is the publisher of ComebackTown, a co-founder of Buzz12 Advertising Agency and co-CEO of AmSher Collection Agency.  He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham)), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).

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