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Southern Miss announces new Athletic Director

Photo courtesy of USM Athletics
Photo courtesy of USM Athletics

Southern Miss has found their next Athletic Director.

Jeremy McClain has been selected as the new AD after Jon Gilbert left the role in December.

McClain is a Mississippi native, and he returns to Hattiesburg after serving as the AD at Troy since 2015. This will be McClain’s second stint at USM, where he was the Deputy Director of Athletics for three years before leaving for Troy. 

USM President Rodney Bennett announced the hire in a letter and said that McClain’s familiarity with the university made him an ideal fit for the position. 

“Jeremy McClain is uniquely qualified to lead our Department of Athletics to the successes we all envision. We know Jeremy. Jeremy knows us. Jeremy McClain is a “Southern Miss guy,” who shares the values and ambitions of The University of Southern Mississippi,” Bennett wrote.

After the announcement, McClain posted the following message on Twitter.

Bennett said that he arrived at the decision after a series of seven listening sessions across the southeast. 

“Following those sessions, it was clear to me that the ideal candidate would be key to ensuring the success of student-athletes in the classroom and in competition; the ideal candidate would be familiar with how The University of Southern Mississippi operates; the ideal candidate would possess a deep understanding of higher education in Mississippi; the ideal candidate would have senior-level administrative experience; the ideal candidate would have an understanding of, and commitment to, growing the financial sustainability of the department; and the ideal candidate’s tenure would be of a length that leaves a lasting and positive effect on Southern Miss Athletics.”

McClain’s tenure will officially begin on July 1, pending IHL Board approval, but he will be introduced on Monday. 

Jeff Mitchell has served as the interim AD following Gilbert’s departure. 

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