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Bill McGillis
Bill  McGillis

Director of Athletics

Bill McGillis was named the Southern Miss athletic director on July 18, 2013 and quickly articulated his vision for Golden Eagle Athletics: Winning in the Classroom, Winning on the Playing Field and Winning in the Community. Since then, McGillis’s contagious energy has helped facilitate the restoration of excellence within Southern Miss athletics, highlighted by unprecedented academic achievement and significant competitive success, including the resurgence of the storied Golden Eagles football program.

Since his arrival in Hattiesburg, McGillis has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to ensuring a positive student-athlete experience and culture of academic excellence within the Southern Miss program. He has delivered an inspired message to student-athletes, coaches and staff that has been wholly embraced as academic performance has soared. Last year, Golden Eagle student-athletes earned the highest cumulative student-athlete grade point average on record at the university; the women’s cross country team earned the nation’s highest grade point average among all Division I teams in two of the last three years; while the football team recorded its highest multi-year APR score in seven years. Collectively, and for the 10th time in the last 12 years, male student-athletes at Southern Miss received the David Halbrook Award for achieving he highest graduation rate among public universities in Mississippi.

On the playing field, proud success for Golden Eagles football returned in 2015 as a result of the relentless commitment of an outstanding coaching staff, a talented group of young men and strong administrative support. Southern Miss capped a massive rebuilding process by winning nine regular-season games, capturing the Conference USA West Division championship and earning a trip to the Heart of Dallas Bowl just three short years removed from a winless 2012 season.

The football program, though, is far from the only Southern Miss team to achieve great success during McGillis’s three-year tenure. In 2016 the women’s tennis team won a school-record 17 matches while the men's team won 16 times -- the most in a single season in nearly 20 years.

Under first-year head coach Erika Brennan, the women's golf team had its best finish in Conference USA Tournament history this spring and, the Golden Eagles softball team won more conference games in 2016 than in any of the last 10 seasons.In 2015, second-year women’s volleyball head coach Amanda Berkley’s club posted the fourth highest win total in program history, and the women’s soccer team won more Conference USA games than it had in any season since 2007.

With the aim of igniting a loyal and passionate fan base, McGillis and his staff launched one of the most innovative football marketing campaigns in college athletics in 2015. As a result, football season ticket sales increased nearly 30 percent and a home game against Mississippi State drew the largest crowd in Southern Miss history. All-time high single game attendance marks have also been recorded for baseball, softball and women’s basketball while under McGillis's leadership.

McGillis’s focus on staff development and synergy led to a well-received reorganization of the development team and operations, that stimulated growth within the Eagle Club – the fundraising arm of Southern Miss athletics – including the addition of four new members in the Circle of Champions (individual commitments of $125,000+) and the successful solicitation of other major gifts utilized to fund scholarships and special projects.

More exciting accomplishments in 2015 were realized on the facilities front as fundraising was completed for the opening of a new state-of-the-art baseball weight room at Pete Taylor Park and McGillis announced a $2 million campaign to build the Bower Academic Excellence Center. The department also unveiled an architectural feasibility study of a proposed $40 million renovation of Reed Green Coliseum for which funding models are now being developed.

To further fuel football’s momentum, the development team secured a gift of $1.2 million for the summer 2016 renovation and expansion of the team’s locker room and gift commitments that enabled both a stunning renovation and expansion of the Duff Athletics Center weight room and the planned construction of a state-of-the-art nutrition center - two projects that will benefit all Southern Miss student-athletes.

Prior to his arrival at Southern Miss, McGillis served as the Executive Associate Athletic Director at the University of South Florida for six years, supporting the Director of Athletics in the day-to-today management of the department.

Operating in a Chief Operating Officer-type role, his duties at South Florida included serving as the sport administrator for the nationally ranked football and softball programs. The Bulls football team enjoyed top-25 success in four of the six seasons under McGillis’s watch – including climbing as high as No. 2 in 2007, while the softball program reached new heights when it earned a spot in the Women’s College World Series in 2012.

McGillis led all of USF’s revenue-generating units and initiatives, including ticket sales, sponsorship, marketing, broadcasting, licensing, merchandising and communications. McGillis was also responsible for the administration and oversight of the university’s partnerships with Under Armour, IMG College and Coca-Cola, as well being the lead on the searches of all head coaching and senior-level administration hires, and representing the university in a leadership capacity at select national meetings and championships.

During his stint in Tampa, McGillis oversaw the advancement of what, at the time, was the single largest athletics facility project undertaken at a Division I institution in the last 25 years (based on number of new facilities) involving the construction of six venues within the department’s master facilities plan (football practice facility, basketball practice center, soccer stadium, softball stadium, baseball stadium and dining hall/training table – approximately $40 million) and a $37 million renovation of the Sun Dome.

Prior to South Florida, McGillis served as the Director of Athletics at the University of Evansville from April 2002 to May 2007, where he effectively reestablished hope, confidence and interest in the Purple Aces program.

Responsible for providing leadership and administration for the department of athletics, McGillis served as a collaborative member of the President’s Cabinet and made significant contributions on major university decisions, policy and practices related to enrollment management, student life, facilities development, fiscal affairs, human resources, marketing, fundraising and the university’s five-year strategic plan.

Under the leadership of McGillis and head coach Dave Schrage, who would depart after the season for the same role at Notre Dame, the Evansville baseball program won a program-record 43 games en route to a Missouri Valley Conference Championship, an NCAA Regional and within three wins of the College World Series in 2006.

Before embarking on his first job as an athletic director, McGillis spent four years as the Senior Associate Athletic Director at the University of New Mexico, two years as the General Manager of two professional women’s basketball teams in the American Basketball League (ABL) and 13 years in an administrative capacity at the University of Houston.

McGillis earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in sports administration from St. Thomas University (Fla.) in 1984 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."

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