AUBURN, Ala. -- Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs announced Tuesday the hiring of University of Minnesota Deputy Athletics Director David Benedict to fill a newly created position as Chief Operating Officer for the Auburn Athletics Department.
"David is a proven, results-driven leader with outstanding credentials, and I am pleased to welcome him to our team," Jacobs said. "This hire is part of our ongoing efforts to become a 21st century, cutting-edge athletics department that can meet the challenges of the growing and rapidly changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics. I created this position because our goal is to become the preeminent athletics department in the country, and David's strong record of success and broad base of experience will help us get there."
"I would like to thank the search committee, Committee Chair Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Ron Burgess and Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs for providing me the opportunity to join the Auburn family," Benedict said. "It became obvious throughout the search process that Jay is on a mission to do something special at Auburn, his passion and enthusiasm for Auburn is contagious. I look forward to partnering with Jay, the senior management team and the coaching staff in creating a world class student-athlete experience and a one-of-a-kind experience for our fans."
"I made a commitment last year to position our department for future success," Jacobs added. "David's hire is a great complement to my talented and experienced senior staff and our many dedicated employees. He will help our team with ongoing initiatives designed to improve internal operations as well as the development and implementation of our strategic plan. I look forward to David joining our team."
The department's current senior staff includes:
Tim Jackson, Executive Associate AD and Executive Director of the Tigers Unlimited Foundation, the department's fundraising arm
Scott Carr, Senior Associate AD for External Affairs
Kay Hargrave, Senior Associate AD for Development
Bernard Hill, Senior Associate AD
Meredith Jenkins, Senior Associate AD and Senior Woman Administrator
Rich McGlynn, Senior Associate AD
David Mines, Associate AD
Dr. Gary Waters, Senior Associate AD for Academic Services
Terry Windle, Senior Associate AD and CFO
Jack Smith, Senior Associate AD for Communications
Ward Swift, Chief Marketing Officer
Serving as deputy athletic director at the University of Minnesota since 2012, Benedict led numerous areas of the athletic department including sport supervision and student-athlete welfare. He partnered with the athletic director and senior staff to develop strategies for attracting external support and major donors including the largest athletic campaign in school history.
In addition, Benedict managed Minnesota's multimedia contract with Learfield Sports, outside ticket sales vendor Aspire and concessions contractor Aramark, generating additional revenue for the department.
Prior to his role at Minnesota, Benedict held positions of increasing responsibility at Virginia Commonwealth University, Long Beach State University and Arizona State University.
"When we announced new initiatives last spring, part of our plan was to hire a COO who would focus on internal operations across the board," Jacobs said. "We have a dynamic staff and I am confident we are on our way to becoming the best athletics department in the nation."
Other initiatives Jacobs outlined last spring that have been achieved include:
Major Sports Development
Hiring of former Oklahoma baseball Coach Sunny Golloway and former Arizona State softball coach Clint Myers.
The addition of 2,000 additional parking spaces and tailgating areas, concessions improvements, the addition of digital ticket scanning and 100 TVs at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Completion of the new Student Residence Hall, now home to more than 200 student-athletes, renovation of Watson Field House as the new strength and conditioning center for Olympic sports and the beginning of construction of a $6 million Wellness Kitchen.
Hiring of a Chief Marketing Officer, two professional beat writers, the launch of a new digital media department and a new digital magazine.