STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – Georgia Southern athletic director Jared Benko has signed a five-year contract extension that will raise his annual pay by $90,000 to $403,000.

This news comes in the middle of several major successes for Georgia Southern, including a major upset win over Nebraska by the football team, a historic season for the baseball team and the planned opening of the Anthony Tippins Practice Facility in the coming months.

The university will also pay Benko an $8,000 annual salary escalator out of the Competitive Excellence Fund, which is comprised of private donations that goes specifically to the hiring and retention of athletic department personnel.

Benko came to Georgia Southern in March of 2020, just as the pandemic shut down college sports across the country. He led the athletic department’s efforts to navigate COVID-19, from instituting a testing regime to figuring out travel and seating capacity. Georgia Southern football was one of only two teams in 2020 to play 13 games.

He also hired men’s basketball coach Brian Burg the same month.

Before coming to Statesboro, Benko spent four years at Mississippi State as assistant athletic director and chief financial officer. He also had stints at Auburn and UGA prior to his time in Starkville.

Benko is a native of Watkinsville, Ga., a town in Oconee County just outside Athens.