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January 14, 2014

Auburn hires first COO


AUBURN | Auburn's first-ever search for a chief operating officer for athletics has ended.

David Benedict, formerly of Minnesota and Virginia Commonwealth, has been hired to fill the newly created position. He will report to athletic director Jay Jacobs, though it's unclear exactly what the job will entail on a day-to-day basis.

"David is a proven, results-driven leader with outstanding credentials and I'm pleased to welcome him to the team," Jacobs said. "This hire is part of our ongoing efforts to become a 21st centure, cutting-edge athletics department that can meet the challenges of the growing and rapidly changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics. I created the position because our goal is to become the preeminent athletics department in the country.

"David's strong record of success and broad base of experience will help us get there."

Benedict began his career as a fundraiser and rose to executive director of Arizona State's Sun Angel Foundation, that department's fund-raising arm, during the 2000s. He also spent time at Long Beach State in a similar role before jumping to VCU in 2010 as a associate athletic director in charge of development.

Benedict became VCU's interim athletic director in May 2012 after the man who hired him, Norwood Teague, took the same job at Minnesota. Teague brought Benedict to Minnesota a few months later to continue their collaborative effort with the Golden Gophers.

While in Minneapolis, Benedict managed the department's multimedia contract with Learfield Sports, ticket sales vendor Aspire and concessions contractor Aramark to help create additional revenue streams. He also was in charge of developing strategies for attracting external financial support and managed the program's largest athletic campaign ever.

Benedict played football at Southern Utah and coached briefly at New Mexico. His wife, Lisa, was a gymnast at ASU and was inducted into the school's Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.

With the addition of Benedict, here is a review of all senior-level staffers in the athletic department:

  • Tim Jackson, Executive Associate AD and Executive Director of Tigers Unlimited

  • Scott Carr, Senior Associate AD for External Affairs

  • Kay Hargrave, Senior Associate AD for Development

  • Bernard Hill, Senior Associate AD

  • Rich McGlynn, Senior Associate AD for Compliance

  • 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

  • Meredith Jenkins, Senior Associate AD and Senior Woman Administrator

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