In an email addressed to the school and alumni, Southern Miss President Rodney Bennett announced on Monday that Athletic Director Jon Gilbert submitted his resignation on Sunday to “pursue other career opportunities.”
The resignation was effective immediately.
On Sunday, it was reported by multiple news outlets that Jon Gilbert was set to be named as the University of East Carolina’s next athletic director. East Carolina officially announced the move on Monday, stating that Gilbert agreed to a five-year contract.
It was confirmed on Wednesday, Nov. 28 by Southern Miss Assistant Athletic Director Jack Duggan that ECU had contacted Gilbert prior to the announcement.
Former East Carolina Athletic Director Jeff Compher stepped down on May 1 after he was voted out by the ECU Board of Trustees. The move came after East Carolina’s football program had struggled after Compher hired Head Coach Scottie Montgomery, who led the team to back-to-back 3-9 seasons in 2016 and 2017. Montgomery was fired on Nov. 29 after leading ECU to a 3-8 record through 11 games in 2018. Compher was the Athletic Director for five years at East Carolina.
Gilbert has ties to East Carolina since Dave Hart is serving as a special advisor to ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton. Gilbert served as Hart’s assistant athletic director during their tenure together at the University of Tennessee.
Gilbert was announced as Director of Athletics at Southern Miss on Jan. 24, 2017 after Bill McGillis left to accept the position of Associate Vice President and Executive Director of Athletics at the University of San Diego.
While at Southern Miss, Gilbert negotiated a new athletic apparel deal with Adidas, had M.M. Roberts Stadium pressure washed and ordered internal improvements to Reed Green Coliseum.
In addition to those achievements, Gilbert negotiated a four-game football series with Tulane that will start in 2022. Gilbert also announced the scheduling of two football games against Alabama in 2019 and 2021. Southern Miss will receive a $1.85 million dollar payment for the game in 2019 and a $1.9 million dollar payment for the 2021 matchup. A three-game agreement to play Mississippi State was also reached under Gilbert’s tenure.
Gilbert has also overseen the development and construction of the Wellness Center, which is set to be completed in the fall of 2019 and will be the new home of the Southern Miss volleyball team. He also added the beach volleyball program as an official sport, which will begin this upcoming spring.
Gilbert is now the fourth athletic director to leave Southern Miss since 2012.