STORRS, Conn. (AP) The University of Connecticut announced Monday it has hired David Benedict, the chief operating officer for Auburn's athletic department, to be the school's new athletic director.
UConn said it will introduce Benedict during a news conference Tuesday morning.
Benedict directed the day-to-day operations of the Auburn athletic department, which has a budget of more than $120 million. UConn has a budget of about $71 million.
''David is an extremely talented administrator who brings a wealth of experience from Auburn and elsewhere to the job,'' Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said. ''He helped us tremendously during his time at Auburn, and we are better for it.''
Benedict went to Auburn in 2014 from Minnesota, where he served as deputy athletic director. He has held leadership positions in the athletic departments at Virginia Commonwealth (2010-12), Long Beach State (2007-10), and Arizona State (1996-2006).
''We sought a leader whose grasp of the national landscape and relentless pursuit of excellence would be second-to-none,'' UConn president Susan Herbst said. ''I am very happy to say that we found exactly what we were looking for in David Benedict.''
Benedict replaces Warde Manuel, who takes over in less than two weeks as athletic director at Michigan after four years in Storrs.
One of Benedict's biggest challenges at UConn will be working on the school's future conference affiliations. Manuel and Herbst were not able to secure an invitation to join one of the Power Five conferences, leaving most of its teams mired in the much lower revenue-producing American Athletic Conference after the breakup of the old Big East.
Mike Aresco, the commissioner of the AAC, learned of the announcement while attending UConn's women's basketball game against South Florida on Monday night.
He said he does not know Benedict, but is good friends with Jacobs and trusts his endorsement.
''UConn has a history of making great hires,'' Aresco said. ''Warde Manuel was a great hire and there is no reason to think this won't be a great hire.''