Gilbert stays in Greenville; agrees to new contract at ECU

Published 2:52 pm Wednesday, February 16, 2022

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Jon Gilbert will continue as East Carolina University’s Director of Athletics after the university’s Board of Trustees approved a five-year contract through December 2026

Gilbert came to ECU in December 2018 after a stint as athletics director at the University of Southern Mississippi. During his three years at ECU, Gilbert has led the athletics department through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, oversaw the renovation and completion of numerous facilities, added several new head coaches, and secured the largest philanthropic gift in ECU Athletics history.

TowneBank Tower at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium was completed prior to the 2019 football season. All suites and loges are sold out for the fourth consecutive season, and Trade Club premium seats are expected to sell out in 2022 for the first time. In addition, Gilbert secured the philanthropic gift to rename the athletics footprint The Grady-White Boats Athletics Campus.

“I am extremely grateful and thankful to Chancellor (Philip) Rogers and our board of trustees for their support of the athletics department,” said Gilbert. “We have persevered and battled through unprecedented times thanks to the generosity of our Pirate Club members, alumni, family and friends, and we have a solid foundation to build upon as we take the next step for ECU Athletics.”

ECU Board of Trustees Chairman Scott Shook said: “Over the past three years, Jon has stabilized ECU Athletics and created an atmosphere in which people are proud to work. Jon’s steady leadership has positioned ECU Athletics for the future, and we’re all excited to see what’s in store for Pirate Nation.”

Among other items completed under Gilbert’s leadership are the renovation of a new weight room and football turf practice field, the construction of an indoor softball batting cage, the addition of an auxiliary turf practice field, redesign of Minges Coliseum game floor and graphics, and the renovation of multiple football designated spaces and of the volleyball and women’s tennis locker rooms.

Another high-impact addition has been the construction of a control room to broadcast events on ESPN. ECU Athletics has produced more than 100 broadcasts on the ESPN platform since the partnership was formed in 2021.

ECU student-athletes have had success academically, averaging a 3.0 grade point average or better each of the last three years, including a department record GPA of 3.21 in the 2019-20 academic year.

Gilbert reached an agreement with Playfly Sports in December 2021 as its new, exclusive multimedia rights holder for the athletic department beginning summer 2022 through the 2034 academic year. The strategic partnership will leverage Playfly’s multimedia rights expertise in addition to its suite of marketing and media solutions to elevate the ECU brand, fan experience, and student-athlete journey.

Prior to his time as AD at Southern Miss, Gilbert served as executive senior associate athletics director at the University of Tennessee. He also worked for nearly 17 years at Alabama, where he served in multiple roles, including associate athletics director from 2009 to 2011.

Gilbert is a graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, where he was a three-year letterman on the football team. He earned a master’s degree in sport administration at Eastern Kentucky University while working as a graduate assistant football coach.