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Ex-Ohio State president Gordon Gee named president of West Virginia

The oft-controversial Gordon Gee will serve his third stint as West Virginia's president. The controversial Gordon Gee will serve a third stint as West Virginia's leader. (Chip Ellis/Charleston Gazette/AP)

West Virginia has hired a familiar face as the university's next president. The school's Board of Governors announced Monday that E. Gordon Gee, most recently the president at Ohio State, will serve as the university’s permanent 24th president. The announcement marks Gee's third appointment as West Virginia's president.

Gee served as the school's president from 1981 to '85, and returned to Morgantown in an interim role in January. Gee was expected to serve only until a permanent president was named, but Board of Governors Chair James W. Dailey II said in a statement that the board eventually decided to offer the permanent role to Gee.

“Gordon Gee is absolutely, hands-down the very best person to be at the helm of West Virginia University at this important time and place in our history,” BOG Chair James W. Dailey II said Friday. “I know we recruited him to serve until a permanent leader was in place and said the interim president would not be a candidate for the permanent presidency, but the search committee and the Board had a change of heart.

“It is clear Gordon Gee has not been a placeholder president by any means; he has been an extraordinary high energy leader who is getting things done, moving us forward and clearly has the support of our Board, senior University leaders, faculty and staff, students, elected officials, higher education peers and opinion leaders. Countless people have urged us from Day One to keep him,” Dailey said.

Gee resigned as Ohio State's president last summer after making several comments critical of SEC schools, Notre Dame and Catholics. In 2011, he also made headlines when, after the school announced that then coach Jim Tressel had lied to the NCAA, he was asked if he'd ever considered dismissing Tressel. Gee responded, "I'm just hopeful the coach doesn't dismiss me."

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