University of Southern Mississippi President Rodney Bennett has announced Bill McGillis as the university's Director of Athletics.
Bennett made the announcement Thursday morning at a gathering of hundreds of Southern Miss students, alumni, employees and fans at the university's Trent Lott Center. McGillis replaces Jeff Hammond, whose contract expired on June 30. Deputy Athletics Director Jeremy McClain is serving as interim Director of Athletics.
"Bill McGillis is a seasoned and experienced athletic administrator who has a proven record of helping student-athletes accomplish their academic and athletic goals," said Bennett. "He has built winning programs that compete at the highest levels, and has the ability to develop strong relationships with stakeholders. I have no doubt that Bill is the right person to best build on our tradition of athletics excellence and position us for future success."
McGillis comes to The University of Southern Mississippi from the University of South Florida, where he serves as Executive Associate Athletic Director. In that role, he is the sport administrator for the football, baseball and softball programs and is responsible for leading the department's revenue-generating units, including marketing, ticket sales, licensing, merchandising and communications. McGillis' official start date has not yet been determined.
Throughout his tenure at USF, which began in 2007, the university enjoyed extraordinary increases in tickets sales and other revenue streams. In 2007, football ticket sales nearly doubled from approximately 30,000 per game in 2006 to more than 53,000 per contest. Beginning in 2009, USF began a $69 million facelift of its Athletics District, constructing six new venues, including new baseball and softball stadiums, soccer stadium and track stadium. Construction was completed over a 24-month period, and, based on the number of venues built at one time, is believed to be the single largest athletics project undertaken at a Division 1 institution in decades.
"Congratulations to President Rodney Bennett, The University of Southern Mississippi family and all the Golden Eagles," said USF Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Doug Woolard. "You have just added one of the most talented athletic administrators in America to your team. Bill's experience, value system, work ethic, integrity and total understanding of the landscape of college athletics are remarkable. Bill McGillis is highly respected in our profession and I want to congratulate him and his family."
McGillis brings to Southern Miss more than 25 years of administrative experience in intercollegiate athletics. Prior to his tenure at South Florida, he served as Director of Athletics at the University of Evansville from 2002 to 2007. At Evansville, McGillis initiated improvements to the university's basketball, administrative and weight room facilities, and increased scholarship support and funding. The Purple Aces baseball program achieved unprecedented success, winning the Missouri Valley Conference Championship for the first time. McGillis also spent nearly four years as the Senior Associate Athletic Director at the University of New Mexico, and 13 years at the University of Houston in a similar role.
Prior to announcing McGillis, Bennett thanked an interview committee of alumnus Chuck Scianna, Student Government President Ann Marie Chilcutt, faculty member and dean of the College of Arts and Letters Steve Moser, and Executive Assistant to the President for External Affairs Chad Driskell, as well as the search firm of Eastman and Beaudine, Inc., for their role in the selection process.
McGillis earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in sports administration from St. Thomas University (Fla.) and graduated from the Sports Management Institute Program in 1996. He and his wife Margie, both natives of Seattle, have five children--sons Jordan, Taylor and Will, and daughters Marissa and Gabrielle.
What They are Saying About Bill McGillis Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky
"Bill is a wonderful athletic administrator with tremendous experience. He is also a terrific person with a perfect skill set to be successful at Southern Miss. We are excited to welcome him into the conference."
Ole Miss Director of Athletics Ross Bjork
"Congratulations to Dr. Bennett and The University of Southern Mississippi on a great hire with Bill McGillis. I have had the pleasure of developing a strong friendship and professional relationship with Bill for well over a decade, and I believe he is the perfect fit for USM. He has the experience of leading several athletics programs to new heights, and his strong connections around the country will serve the Golden Eagle program well moving forward. Just like we have, I know the McGillis family will love the people of Mississippi, and we welcome them to the Magnolia State."
University of Miami Director of Athletics Blake James
"Bill is a true leader in our profession. His experience, his passion and his dedication to excellence will take USM to unprecedented success. Southern Miss should be excited about the future with Bill at the helm."
Arkansas Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long
"Bill McGillis is an outstanding individual who has over 20 years of experience at multiple levels of NCAA membership. His enthusiasm, work ethic and principled leadership will build the program, while making a quality student-athlete experience a focal point. Southern Miss has made a tremendous choice in Bill McGillis."