McClain heads back to USM

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Wesley Kirchharr

Sports Editor

Scott Shelton

Staff Writer

Senior Vice Chancellor for Athletics Jeremy McClain has left his role at Troy University to become the next athletics director at the University of Southern Mississippi, according to a tweet from McClain on April 4.

McClain, a Mississippi native, was introduced as the new athletic director by the Southern Miss Golden Eagles on Monday, April 8.

“I wasn’t out looking for a job,” McClain said to WLOX-TV following his press conference. “Then, I got a phone call.”

McClain gave his thanks to Troy Chancellor Jack Hawkins, Jr.  and to those he calls his “family,” who embraced him so warmly in Troy.

McClain formerly served as deputy athletics director at Southern Miss for three years before taking his position at Troy in 2015.

Rodney Bennett, president of the University of Southern Mississippi, expressed his excitement to have McClain back on board.

“We welcome home a visionary in the field of intercollegiate athletics.  We welcome home a true Golden Eagle,” said Bennett during a press conference.

Details regarding McClain’s contract at Southern Miss haven’t been disclosed yet but are expected to be similar to those of Jon Gilbert, McClain’s Southern Miss predecessor. The Hattiesburg American, a newspaper serving Southern Mississippi, reported Gilbert made $350,000 annually.

McClain is set to officially begin his role on July 1, but expressed interest in getting involved early in the summer. Interim Athletic Director Jeff Mitchell will steer the Southern Miss ship until then.

For Troy, Sandra Atkins, who currently serves as deputy director of athletics for internal operations, will serve as interim athletics director until the role is filled.

Dr. Doug Patterson, special assistant to the chancellor and a former vice chancellor of Troy, will be leading the search for a new athletic director.

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