HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi will be searching for an athletic director for the third time since 2013 after Jon Gilbert resigned Sunday to be able to take the same post at East Carolina University.
Gilbert was announced Monday morning as ECU’s new athletic director, ending that university’s nine-month search to fill the vacancy,
In an e-mail sent Monday morning to USM faculty, staff and students, Southern Miss President Rodney Bennett said that Gilbert had submitted his resignation Sunday “to pursue other career opportunities.”
The resignation was effective immediately, Bennett said.
Bennett said he expected to “name an interim director of athletics and will move as quickly as possible to identify a permanent replacement.”
Bennett will be making his third hire of an athletic director since becoming USM president in April 2013.
Gilbert was introduced in late January 2017 as USM’s athletic director after six years at the University of Tennessee and nearly 17 years at the University of Alabama.
The text of Bennett’s e-mail is as follows:
“Dear alumni and friends:
“I am writing to inform you that Director of Athletics Jon Gilbert submitted his resignation to me on Sunday, indicating that he intends to pursue other career opportunities. His resignation is effective immediately. In the coming days, I expect to name an interim Director of Athletics and will move as quickly as possible to identify a permanent replacement.
"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.
“Thank you for your continued partnership and interest in the success of not only our student-athletes, but also our University as a whole.”
Rodney D. Bennett