Georgia Southern names new athletic director

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Jared Benko (courtesy of Georgia Southern University)

STATESBORO, Ga. (WSAV) – Georgia Southern University has hired the new director of athletics for Eagle Nation.

Jared Benko comes to Statesboro from Mississippi State where he worked as the deputy director of athletics/CFO.

He will officially start on April 1.

“This was a highly sought-after position attracting over 100 candidates from across the nation,” said Georgia Southern University President Kyle Marrero. “The expressed enthusiasm for and reputation of Georgia Southern validated the success we have had, and the potential in our future.”

Benko will succeed Tom Kleinlein, who left in January to pursue an opportunity at the University of Mississippi. GS Deputy Athletic Director Lisa Sweany has been serving in the interim.

“I am humbled and honored to serve the Georgia Southern University family,” Benko said. “The passion and pride of Eagle Nation is unmatched, and I am excited and deeply committed to bringing a hard-working and innovative culture to our coaches, staff and student-athletes.”

Before his time at Mississippi State, Benko served as the assistant athletic director for finance at Auburn University.

He also spent four years in business operations at the University of Arkansas, including serving as the director of business operations. Benko was promoted to that role after 16 months as the department’s business manager, which he began in 2011.

Prior to his tenure at Arkansas, he served as the assistant director of business operations at his alma mater, the University of Georgia, from 2008 to 2011.

“Jared stood out in everyone’s mind,” Marrero said. “The committee and I are confident he is the right person to capitalize on our momentum and lead Eagle Nation to even greater heights.”

Benko will report directly to Marrero, serve as a member of the President’s Cabinet and oversee 17 NCAA Division I varsity athletics programs, 15 of which compete in the Sun Belt Conference.

He is originally from Watkinsville, Georgia. Benko and his wife, Sarah, have two sons, Hudson and Cooper.

“Thank you to President Marrero and the search committee for entrusting me with this critical leadership position,” Benko said. “Georgia Southern’s best days are ahead and my family and I look forward to joining the Statesboro community.”

The public and the GS community are invited to a reception with Benko from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Monday, March 9 in the Bishop Alumni Center.

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