STATESBORO — Tom Kleinlein, deputy athletic director at Kent State University, was introduced Monday as Georgia Southern University’s new athletic director, concluding a national search.
During remarks at a standing-room only press conference, Georgia Southern President Brooks Keel, Ph.D., described the school’s new athletic director as not only understanding the competitive and business aspects of managing a growing athletics department, but also the focus on academics.
“Tom Kleinlein brings a great deal of experience and enthusiasm to Georgia Southern University. Our goal is to make sure that our student athletes not only win on the field, but in the classroom.”
“I am very excited to join the Eagle Nation and am honored to serve as Georgia Southern University’s athletic director,” Kleinlein said. “This job can be summed up in one word, opportunity. The tradition and success that Georgia Southern has become so well known for will serve as the foundation as we build for the future.”
Kleinlein joined Kent State in 2010 and was responsible for the management of the athletic department’s revenue and coordinated the department’s efforts with institutional and student affairs. He also served as the direct sport supervisor for football along with men’s and women’s basketball. He led the university’s relationship with IMG College, the marketing department, ticket office, facilities, strength and conditioning and game day management operations.
Prior to joining Kent State, he served as associate athlete director for football at Arizona State University from 2005-2010. Earlier in his career, he served as assistant athletic director for football operations at Rutgers University. Prior to that, he worked at his alma mater, Wake Forest University, as an academic counselor and assistant director of football operations.
A four-year letter winner as an offensive lineman at Wake Forest, he earned a bachelor’s degree in history. He later earned a master’s in education curriculum and instruction from Arizona State. He and his wife, Tara, have two sons – Austin and Mason.