STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) - Tom Kleinlein’s run in Statesboro is in the final days.
The Georgia Southern athletic director is resigning, effecting January 21, to take over as the deputy AD at Ole Miss.
His eight-year tenure has seen the Eagle football team vault into the FBS ranks, the athletic department into the Sun Belt Conference, and nearly $40 million in facility renovations.
None of that is what Kleinlein says is what’s he’s proudest of.
“The important part to me of what we do every single day is the impact that we have on these student-athletes’ lives," Kleinlein said Monday. "When you look at things like the improvement in the academics and the departmental GPA, the things we’ve done with APR and the fact that we have teams with 1000 APR and things are going really well there. I think we worked really hard at it, but I’m proud that we set out with a goal and we did that goal, and we were pretty successful at it.”
Kleinlein is headed to Oxford, MS and the SEC. His top duties will include overseeing the Rebels’ football program. Kleinlein says this was just the right time and right opportunity.
“For me, I just felt like Georgia Southern is positioned for success. The president is here to ensure that success happens, and he’s excited about building on that success," Kleinlein says. "So Ole Miss is an opportunity to join an SEC school and be at a place that has a very, very clear vision of where they want to go.”
Kleinlein says he hasn’t been asked for his input on his successor, but would offer it if asked.