University of Mount Olive Vice President for Athletics Jeff Eisen has announced that he will retire on December 31, 2021. His career in collegiate athletics administration spans over 34 years, 16 of which have been at the University of Mount Olive. In 2005, Eisen was hired as Mount Olive’s Director of Athletics. Ten years later he was promoted to his current position.
During Eisen’s tenure, Trojan teams have recorded 37 regular-season conference title wins, 68 conference championships, and earned 71 NCAA Tournament berths. In 2016-17, the Trojans won a school-record eight conference championships and, in 2008, the school earned its first-ever NCAA Division II Baseball National Championship.
Mount Olive has finished first or second in the Joby Hawn Cup, which measures all-sports excellence within Conference Carolinas, in each of the last 10 years, winning the award for the first time in school history in 2011-12 and again in 2013-14, 2018-19, 2019-20, and 2020-21. In addition, Mount Olive has won the Hawn Cup for men’s sports seven times and the Hawn Cup for women’s sports five times.
Under Eisen’s leadership, the UMO Department of Athletics has experienced steady growth with creation of new positions, the enhancement of facilities, and the expansion from 14 to 22 NCAA sports. In addition, Eisen has been instrumental in restarting UMO’s fundraising organization, the Trojan Club. With only 100 members in its first year, the Trojan Club has since exceeded 800 members and $200,000 in annual donations. In 2006, Eisen began the Mount Olive Athletics Hall of Fame.
Along with success in competition, Eisen has emphasized success in the classroom. Almost 100 UMO student-athletes earned Academic All-Conference honors last year, and the average team GPA has been over a 3.0 for the last 20 semesters. In addition, Mount Olive has had 18 Academic All-America honorees, numerous Academic All-District honorees, and four NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship awardees.
“The success that we have experienced, academically and athletically, is directly attributable to the great group of coaches and staff we have had in our department,” Eisen said. “As enjoyable as it is to experience success, it is so much more enjoyable when you do it with people who you like and care about. It has been an honor and privilege for me to have worked with such outstanding people during my time at UMO.”
“Under Jeff’s leadership, UMO athletics has seen significant growth and has become a perennial powerhouse in Conference Carolinas and beyond,” said Faculty Athletics Representative Dr.
Brenda Cates. “Jeff is highly respected among his peers for his dedication and service in promoting Division II and his unwavering commitment to student-athlete well-being.”
“Mr. Eisen has been a great leader, mentor, and friend,” said Head Men’s Basketball Coach Joey Higginbotham.
Eisen’s leadership has extended beyond the UMO campus. He has served as a member of the NCAA Division II Membership Committee, the NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship Advisory Committee (Southeast Region), the NCAA Division II Championships Committee, and the NCAA Division II Membership Fund Selection Committee. An instrumental force in bringing the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship to Cary, NC in 2009, Eisen has served as the co-tournament director for 11 years. In Conference Carolinas, Eisen currently serves as Chair of the Director of Athletics Committee, member of the Executive Committee, and member of the Assessment and Planning Committee.
UMO President Dr. H. Edward Croom said, “Although I have only been employed at the University of Mount Olive for a short time, I have quickly realized the impact that Jeff Eisen has had on the entire UMO community. His tenure here is nothing short of stellar and he will leave us a model of what ‘true service’ really looks like. UMO is a better place as a result of the hard work and commitment Jeff Eisen has had over the past many years. He will surely be missed.”
Eisen said, “It’s been a great run, and even though I’m retiring, I will always bleed green.”
A nationwide search will commence to fill the athletics leadership position.