Southern Miss names new Director of Athletics

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Photo Courtesy of Troy University Athletics

Troy University athletic director Jeremy McClain was named to the same position at Southern Miss on Thursday afternoon.

Southern Miss President Dr. Rodney Bennett made the announcement via email, stating:

“In January, I began a series of seven listening sessions across the southeastern United States, with the goal of beginning a process to create sustainable change toward a bright future for Southern Miss Athletics. 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. 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.”

McClain had been Troy’s athletic director since 2015. Prior to his time at Troy, McClain served as deputy director of athletics at Southern Miss, where he oversaw the day-to-day operations for three years and had also served as Delta State’s athletic director prior to that.

Under McClain’s tenure, Troy saw multiple conference championships in football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball. The school also broke attendance records in football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball, softball and soccer. McClain also oversaw and negotiated a partnership with ESPN3 and ESPN+.

Troy Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. also released a statement on McClain’s departure.

“Jeremy McClain is only on a good man—in my opinion, he is one of America’s most promising young leaders in intercollegiate athletics administration,” Hawkins said. “He has done an outstanding job at TROY, and we thank him and his family for their service to our University.”

Pending the approval of the IHL Board, McClain will start at Southern Miss no later than July 1. McClain will be introduced as the new Athletic Director on April 8 at 5:30 p.m. at the Trent Lott Center on campus.

“As President, I recognize the unbreakable connections between the success of a university and its athletics program, as well as the success of a university and its community. We have momentum in many areas—our enrollment is rising, fundraising has reached record levels, and our reputation and status as a major research university is improving. We all have a stake in the success of The University of Southern Mississippi’s Department of Athletics. I expect that Jeremy will lead the way forward, but we all must do our part,” Bennett said.