It was reported by Frank Sulkowski of WJCL in Savannah that Georgia Southern will be searching for a new athletic director following Tom Kleinlein’s resignation on Friday morning.
BREAKING : Tom Kleinlein has resigned as Director of Athletics at Georgia Southern University.@WJCLNews has learned that Kleinlein shared his intentions with university leadership Friday morning in Statesboro. pic.twitter.com/JwdRpXkx4W— Frank Sulkowski WJCL (@TheBigGuyWJCL) January 3, 2020
Kleinlein’s tenure from a football perspective was filled with both some high peaks and a Dead Sea level of lows.
The now former athletic director hired coach Willie Fritz in his first major move for the Eagles’ football program, and saw Fritz lead the team to a Sun Belt Championship in his first season (2014). On the other side of the coin, Fritz departed for Tulane after the 2015 season, and while rumors swirled about why the coach was leaving, it did seem as though Kleinlein played a major part in his decision to leave for another job.
The Dead Sea I made reference to earlier can obviously be interpreted as hiring Tyson Summers following Fritz’s departure. Summers was clearly unfit to be a head coach at any level of football, leading Georgia Southern into the doldrums of the Sun Belt standings and turning in a record of 5-13 as the Eagles head coach before being fired following an 0-6 start in 2017.
Kleinlein’s next move was to make then interim coach Chad Lunsford full-time, leading to today. Lunsford has turned in records of 10-3 in 2018 and then 7-6 this season since becoming the permanent head coach, and the jury is still out on whether GS will take the next step in becoming true Sun Belt contenders or not.
As for Kleinlein, he is most likely headed to a Power 5 program with rumors online saying he is interviewing for positions at bigger schools.
Kleinlein was travelling to Memphis in the last couple of days. That's a very short car ride from Oxford, Miss. And Ole Miss has openings in it's administration.— Herald GS Sports (@HeraldGSsports) January 3, 2020
As someone who watched Kleinlein pick Summers out of seemingly nowhere, this seems on the surface to be a bad pick for a Power 5 school, but at least TK’s decision-making isn’t Georgia Southern football’s problem any longer.