Southern Miss to take flight under new Athletics Director Bill McGillis

HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) - University President Rodney Bennett announced Bill McGillis as the Golden Eagles athletics director. He brings 25 years of experience.  He, his wife and 5 children are looking forward to the challenge.

McGillis comes to Southern Miss from the University of South Florida, where he has served as Executive Associate Athletic Director.

McGillis said,"When I go to bed and when I wake up I'm thinking about how I can better provide a better student-athlete experience and how the program I'm involved with can win championships. That's how I'm wired. That's what I think about. And that's what I bring here and think about everyday.

President Rodney Bennett said, "I wanted a person that can take a program and move it into national prominence and make it competitive across the spectrum in sports programs. I really wanted an individual that had national contacts that had a national reputation. I wanted a person that was committed to student-athletes success both in the sports but also as young men and women.@

Dr. Rodney Bennett says Bill McGillis will play a major role in the future of Southern Miss athletics and while the Golden Eagles aren't going to jump ship from Conference-USA... down the road could be a different story.

He said he now has someone in place who has experience in conference realignment.

McGillis added,"We're going to aspire to national excellence at the very highest level whatever our conference affliation.  And my time at the University of South Florida has obviously given me an opportunity to witness, understand and be in the middle of conference realignment issues."

His goal is to sell Southern Miss to the fans and student athletes.  He wants to fill M-M Roberts Stadium with sellout crowds.  McGillis says football is the striving force behind building athletic programs and that's his goal at Southern Miss.

He added,"Down the road we can think about expansion of the football stadium, but getting fans in the stands is priority number one."

McGillis also wants to take a look at all the sports facilities on campus and devise future plans.

There was one comical slip of the tongue by McGillis when he said his goal was to become Southern Miss President.  Dr. Bennett quietly said... become athletics director.  McGillis quickly laughed and Dr. Bennett said maybe McGillis knows something he doesn't.

Dr. Bennett said he couldn't give out any details on contract terms for McGillis because they still need to work out a few details.@

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