McGillis leaves Southern Miss for San Diego
HATTIESBURG, Miss. – University of Southern Mississippi Director of Athletics Bill McGillis announced today that he has accepted the position of Associate Vice President and Executive Director of Athletics at the University of San Diego. He will depart Southern Miss in mid-January and begin his tenure at USD on January 23. McGillis, who was named Director of Athletics at Southern Miss in July 2013, is a native of the West Coast.
Head strength and conditioning coach Zac Woodfin is named the interim Director of Athletics.
During his tenure at Southern Miss, McGillis brought stability and unity to the athletics program and fan base and led the department through challenges involving its Golden Eagle logo and men’s basketball program. Under his leadership, Golden Eagle teams excelled on the field and in the classroom, and the region benefitted from hosting multiple Conference USA tournaments. In addition, Golden Eagle football attracted the largest football attendance figures in Conference USA.
“I am grateful to Bill for his good work here, and I am excited for this new opportunity for Bill and his family,” said University President Rodney D. Bennett. “I want to reaffirm my commitment to athletics and the critical role it plays not only in enhancing the overall student experience, but also in elevating the profile of the institution and bolstering our region and state as an economic driver for south Mississippi.”
Bennett indicated his intention to work with a national search firm specializing in the placement of athletic directors to refill the position.
“I am confident that the best days for The University of Southern Mississippi and Southern Miss Athletics are ahead,” Bennett said. “Our coaches are among the most dedicated and hard working in the country, and our student-athletes continue to make us proud on the playing fields and in the classroom. I expect that our new Director of Athletics will be instrumental in continuing Southern Miss Athletics’ legacy of success.”
Open Letter from Bill McGillis
It has been an unbelievable privilege and true blessing to serve as the Director of Athletics at Southern Miss and to call Hattiesburg our home. Quite simply, we are at a point in our life and career at which resetting our priorities is important. The University of San Diego presents a very special opportunity to return to the West Coast to be near both my, and my wife Margie’s, entire families and to serve one of the great Catholic universities in America – critical factors that make this the right decision for our family.
We will leave Southern Miss with a heavy heart and very mixed emotions. Margie and I will be forever grateful for the kindness extended to our family throughout our time here, the special friendships we have made, and for the wonderful support of our program and student-athletes.
I want to thank President Bennett for the opportunity he provided our family to join this great university and for his tremendous support of our athletics program. President Bennett has been unwavering in his commitment to, and support of, our program since the day I arrived, and the university is extraordinarily blessed by his leadership. He understands and appreciates the vital role a strong Division I athletics program plays in the life of a university and its community, and his actions have demonstrated that throughout my time here.
I am very proud of the achievements of, and grateful for, an amazing group of head coaches, their assistant coaches and support staff, as well as an administrative team whose commitment to serving others is unmatched. Most importantly, I am especially proud of the young men and women who wear the Black & Gold and who have represented Southern Miss with class, distinction and honor while Winning in the Classroom, Winning on the Playing Field and Winning in the Community; they have been a joy to watch and to serve.
Finally, I am also deeply appreciative of the outstanding faculty and staff at USM who educate and support our student-athletes, and thankful beyond words for the thousands of Golden Eagles throughout Mississippi, the region and nation who through their generous investment in the Eagle Club, in season tickets and in so many other ways, make the dreams of our student-athletes possible.
Our athletics program now has great momentum on its side, and that momentum will continue. Winning in the Classroom, Winning on the Playing Field and Winning in the Community have been staples of Southern Miss athletics for decades, and I have no doubt that will continue for many, many years to come.
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