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Kleinlein resigns as Athletics Director at Georgia Southern
Georgia Southern athletic director Tom Kleinlein surveys the field before the Eagles take on Furman at Paulson Stadium in 2013 as the now-complete Ted Smith Family Football Operactions Center is under construction in the background. - photo by By SCOTT BRYANT

Early Friday morning, Georgia Southern University Director of Athletics Tom Kleinlein announced that he would be resigning his position, effective Jan. 21.

Kleinlein is leaving Georgia Southern to take a position in the athletic department at the University of Mississippi where he will assume the roll of Deputy Athletics Director..

Kleinlein came to Statesboro in November of 2012 after serving as the deputy athletics director at Kent State University. During his time at Georgia Southern, Kleinlein spearheaded the Eagle football team’s transition into the Football Bowl Subdivision and led the creation and renovation of facilities throughout the athletic department.

“I would like to thank Georgia Southern University as well as all of Eagle Nation,” Kleinlein said in a statement released to the media. “Statesboro has truly become a home for me and my family and we are sad to leave. We are also excited about new opportunities that await us. I feel like a lot has been accomplished in my time here, but it couldn’t have been done without the hard work and effort of all of the employees of this athletic department.”

In a press release by Georgia Southern Friday afternoon, the school thanked Kleinlein for his eight years of service.

“Under his leadership, the Athletic Foundation consistently increased - and met — its annual fund goal, while also fostering additional giving programs to support student-athlete scholarship endowments and coaching salaries,” the release said. “With the move to the Sun Belt, Kleinlein worked to increase the department’s annual operating budget by nearly double and also negotiated high-profile sponsorships with with Coca-Cola, Adidas and Learfield Sports.

The university plans to announce an interim replacement for the position soon, while also planning a national search to interview prospective permanent candidates for the post.

Kleinlein will be back in Statesboro and will hold a press conference detailing his decision to leave the program.