STATESBORO - Georgia Southern director of athletics Tom Kleinlein has resigned his post as leader of the athletics department to pursue another professional opportunity, effective January 21.
"Tom has made a tremendous impact on the growth and success of Eagle Athletics," said Georgia Southern University President Kyle Marrero. "During his tenure at Georgia Southern, he stewarded our football program's move to FBS; oversaw the department's transition to the Sun Belt Conference; and enhanced our athletics facilities significantly, including a major stadium expansion and construction of a state-of-the-art football operations center. Under Tom's leadership, we won numerous conference championships and added new athletic programs, while our student-athletes achieved record academic milestones. Eagle Nation will miss Tom greatly, but we are thrilled for his new opportunity and wish him the best."
Kleinlein spent eight years in Statesboro leading the athletics department to success on the field and in the classroom while remaining focused on the areas of student-athlete experience, facilities, fan engagement and fundraising.
Under his leadership, the Athletic Foundation consistently increased - and met - its annual fund goal, while also fostering additional giving programs to support student-athlete scholarship endowments and coaching salaries. With the move to the Sun Belt, Kleinlein worked to increase the department's annual operating budget by nearly double and he also negotiated high-profile sponsorships with with Coca-Cola, Adidas and Learfield Sports.
In providing a quality experience for Eagle student-athletes, Kleinlein has overseen renovation projects totaling more than $36 million during his time in Statesboro. Kleinlein reinforced the department's commitment to "rings and diplomas," giving each student-athlete the opportunity to earn a college degree and win a championship ring. During each of the past four academic years, student-athletes posted the highest combined grade point averages in department history, including a 3.058 department-wide GPA in 2017-18.
"I would like to thank Georgia Southern University as well as all of Eagle Nation for a great eight years," Kleinlein said. "Statesboro has truly become a home for me and my family and we are sad to leave. We are also excited about new opportunities that await us. I feel like a lot has been accomplished in my time here, but it couldn't have been done without the hard work and effort of all of the employees of this athletic department. I hope all of the student-athletes, coaches and staff members who have worked here during my time know how much they mean to me and I will forever be grateful I was able to serve and lead them."
An interim athletic director will be announced soon. The university will be moving forward with a national search for its new athletic director.