Jon Gilbert named as ECU Director of Athletics

Jon Gilbert (ECU photo)

Jon Gilbert has been named director of athletics at East Carolina University, according to an announcement from Chancellor Cecil Staton.

The ECU Board of Trustees formally approved the hire Monday morning.

CLICK HERE to read more about Mike Houston's hiring as ECU football coach

6 p.m. sports on hiring of Jon Gilbert, Mike Houston

Gilbert has agreed to a five-year contract with ECU and will begin his duties immediately.

“Today marks an enormously significant new beginning for ECU athletics and a proud day for all Pirates,” Staton said.

“During the search process, Jon stood out as a great fit for the proud traditions we have at ECU and for the vision we have for this program. I was especially impressed with Jon’s commitment to the academic and athletic goals for our student-athletes.”

Prior to serving as athletics director at the University of Southern Mississippi since January 2017, Gilbert worked in senior athletics administrative positions at two Southeastern Conference institutions –the University of Alabama and the University of Tennessee.

At Southern Miss, Gilbert installed a student-athlete first mindset that focused on education, comprehensive excellence and community involvement. He used a grassroots approach to share his vision with stakeholders, speaking at numerous local, regional and state events. USM increased resources in the areas of academic success and student-athlete well-being under his leadership. The school hired Conference USA’s first full-time nutritionist and built the student-athletes’ first nutrition fueling bar. To further assist student-athlete development, Gilbert added positions of learning specialist, tutors and life skills staff members. Additionally, student-athletes volunteered more than 3,800 hours of community service from 2016-17.

In the classroom, 67 Southern Miss student-athletes were named to the President’s List (4.0. GPA) and 102 student-athletes to the Dean’s List (3.50-3.99 GPA) in 2017-18. Overall, all 17 teams met or exceeded the national average in the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) standards. In competition, the Golden Eagles won three conference championships with four athletic teams advancing to the NCAA postseason. In addition, USM had 10 individual conference champions, one C-USA player-of-the-year, two league coach-of-the-year honorees and nine NCAA All-America selections.

As part of a restructure in the athletics development office, the department generated the highest cash and support in department history while the Eagle Club registered its second-highest ever membership total. As part of the “I’M IN Campaign,” the Eagle Club gained 100 percent participation from athletics staff members. Gilbert came to Southern Miss from Tennessee, where he served as executive senior associate athletics director since 2011 under former longtime ECU athletics administrator Dave Hart. At UT, Gilbert was responsible for different facets of day-to-day department of athletics operations. His role included leadership duties across the department from strategic planning and management, to external operations, academic affairs and more.

"Jon Gilbert is a terrific person and outstanding administrator,” Hart said. “He understands that how you treat people matters. ECU Athletics is in the hands of a very strong leader who will immediately embrace the Pirate Nation.”

Before his experience at Tennessee, Gilbert worked for nearly 17 years at Alabama where he served in multiple roles, including associate athletics director from 2009 to 2011. There, the development office generated $82 million in gifts and pledges for the Crimson Tide Foundation and Gilbert had oversight of the marketing and promotions department, as well as all facets of the ticket office and seat licensing program.

Gilbert is a graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, N.C., where he was a three-year letterman on the football team. He earned a master's degree in sport administration at Eastern Kentucky University, while working as a graduate assistant football coach. The Colonels captured one Ohio Valley Conference championship and earned two berths in the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs.

He and his wife, Katie, have two teenage children-daughter Larsen and son Kent.

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