The search is underway for a new Athletic Director at Southern Miss after now-former AD Jon Gilbert left to take the same position at East Carolina.
Gilbert served in the role at USM for just under two years after he was officially hired in January 2017. USM President Rodney Bennett released the following statement after accepting Gilbert’s resignation.
“I appreciate Jon’s work at The University of Southern Mississippi. Under his leadership, among other accomplishments, our Golden Eagle football team extended its streak of winning seasons to four; our baseball team won back-to-back conference titles and hosted an NCAA Regional; our women’s track and field team won a conference championship, and our women’s soccer program had its best season in school history. Jon was also instrumental in initiating new facility construction, as well as repairs and renovations to current facilities.
As we turn the page, Southern Miss is poised to build on these recent successes, as well as our long legacy of achievement on the playing field and in the classroom. My expectation is that our next Director of Athletics will be a capable leader who will focus on the development of our student-athletes, energize our fan base, and engage our community and supporters.”
In their announcement, ECU highlighted Gilbert’s success at USM in the classroom and on the field.
67 Golden Eagles were named to the President’s List (4.0. GPA) and 102 made the Dean’s List (3.50-3.99 GPA) in 2017-18. Overall, all 17 teams met or exceeded the national average in the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) standards. To further assist student-athlete development, Gilbert added positions of learning specialist, tutors and life skills staff members.
As for athletics, four different USM teams advanced to postseason play and the school earned 3 team C-USA titles under Gilbert’s leadership. USM also had 10 individual conference champions, one C-USA player-of-the-year, two league coach-of-the-year honorees and nine NCAA All-America selections.
Before joining USM, Gilbert spent time in the athletic departments at Tennessee and Alabama.
The news of Gilbert’s departure comes right after the USM football team learned that they were not selected for a bowl game after finishing the regular season at 6-5.