E. Gordon Gee
E. Gordon Gee - 

Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee announced his retirement Tuesday, following a series of questionable comments that put him in hot water -- referring to "those damn Catholics" at Notre Dame in a joke and taking jabs at the academic quality of rival schools.

In a conference call, Gee insisted he wasn't retiring because of his comments.

"I live in turbulent times and I've had a lot of headwinds, and so almost every occasion, I have just moved on," Gee said. "I have regrets when I have said things that I shouldn't have said, but I have no regrets about having a sense of humor and having a thick skin and enjoying life."

Gee served as Ohio State's president from 1990 to 1997 and 2007 until now. He has one of the largest compensation packages among public university presidents in the nation, which he acknowledged in a 2012 Marketplace interview.

"I've never been in the position of defending my salary. I look at the output and hopefully the people of Ohio are getting a good effort out of me. The quality of my institution is something that I take great pride in," he said.

Self-described as "quirky as hell," Gee joked that he has one month left "to ruin the university."

OSU Provost Joseph A. Alutto will serve as interim president until the the school's board of trustees can find a replacement.

Follow Daryl Paranada at @darylparanada