STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) - Georgia Southern University has announced a new director of athletics.
Jared Benko will officially start in his new role on April 1.
Benko was the deputy director of athletics/chief financial officer at Mississippi State University for the past four years. Prior to his tenure at MSU, he was the assistant athletic director for finance at Auburn University for two years.
“I am humbled and honored to serve the Georgia Southern University family,” Benko said in a statement. “The passion and pride of Eagle Nation is unmatched, and I am excited and deeply committed to bringing a hard-working and innovative culture to our coaches, staff and student-athletes. Thank you to President Marrero and the search committee for entrusting me with this critical leadership position. Georgia Southern’s best days are ahead and my family and I look forward to joining the Statesboro community.”
“This was a highly sought-after position attracting over 100 candidates from across the nation,” said Georgia Southern University President Kyle Marrero said in a statement. “The expressed enthusiasm for and reputation of Georgia Southern validated the success we have had, and the potential in our future. Jared stood out in everyone’s mind. The committee and I are confident he is the right person to capitalize on our momentum and lead Eagle Nation to even greater heights.”
Benko will replace Tom Kleinlein, who left in January.
Athletic Foundation Board co-chairs Anthony Tippins and Leonard Bevill led the search to hire Benko, with help from a 22-person search committee that included student-athletes, supporters and university employees.
According to the university, the search included about 100 candidates, which included 67 diverse/minority candidates and 39 women. Search co-chairs met with 22 candidates (eight of whom are from a minority group). Eight finalists were vetted this week in Atlanta.
Executive search firm DHR International assisted with the search.