Jon Gilbert Shares His Vision for ECU Athletics

May 14th, 2019 | by CollegeAD
Jon Gilbert Shares His Vision for ECU Athletics

gilbert“I feel really good about where we are and where we are headed.”

Jon Gilbert has been on the job at East Carolina University for about six months; he tells CollegeAD he’s still getting the lay of the land but thinks his message about the athletic department is making a mark.

“I like to get out there and say, we aren’t the most important department on campus, but we are the most visible. That’s why it’s so important to communicate between departments and do this together,” Gilbert explains.

gilbertHe says it’s important to him the entire ECU campus sees the athletic department as a partner, aligned with each other in success. He’s keeping the entirety of ECU in mind as he works on the future plans of his department.

“Number one, I wanted to align this department with the university, second, to build a leadership team, and there were a lot of good people here already. We added an external person and an SWA (Senior Woman Administrator) and I feel really good about that senior leadership team,” he said.

Building trust and communicating with student-athletes is one of his main objectives. Before ECU, he was the athletics director at the University of Southern Mississippi. There he installed a student-athletes-first mindset that focused on education, comprehensive excellence, and community involvement. He wants to build on that success at ECU.  gilbert

“I want us to walk where the student-athletes walk. what is the footprint they walk in, and what do we need to do to better serve them?” Gilbert explains. “Keeping that in mind a few projects jumped out at us.”

A few of those projects include renovating the weight room, enclosing the softball batting cages and replacing the practice football turf, all of which he hopes to get off the ground in the coming weeks and months. He also says they are opening a new southside tower that will add seating to the football stadium. The new tower will also include a press box, club seats, skybox and more. It’s a $55 million project scheduled to open in July.

gilbert“The biggest thing to me is getting our fans back to buying season tickets. We went from a high of 22,000 season tickets to last year we were at 12,000. With the changing leadership of our football program, we need to create an environment here where people want to invest and be a part of the success as we turn in around.”

He says he is still in a listening phase and will then use that information to make a list of priorities. Beyond infrastructure, he wants to build a culture of access.

“I want to make sure there is availability to me so that we can have conversations and I think we’ve done a very good job, in a short time frame, of building a good culture here.”

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