JONESBORO, Ark. – Officials in Jonesboro have confirmed the news that former University of Memphis Athletic Director Tom Bowen is heading west to take over the athletics department at Arkansas State University.

Chancellor Kelly Damphousse issued a release just before 2 p.m. Wednesday confirming the hire, which was first reported by David Cobb of CBS Sports earlier in the day.

Damphousse said they were looking for a “problem solver with a vision for the future” of the school and someone who could connect with students, athletes, fans and supporters.

“It was also important to me that our next AD embraces the principles that comprise our Discover 2025 Strategic Plan,” he said. “During my many conversations with Tom, I became convinced that his record and passion match perfectly with that profile. I am excited to serve alongside him as he leads our student athletes, coaches, staff members, supporters, and fans forward into the coming years.”

“I’m very excited and honored to serve as Arkansas State’s athletics director,” Bowen said the release. “I am grateful to Kelly Damphousse, Chuck Welch and everyone involved in the search process. I truly believe A-State is a special place with a premier athletic and academic identity, and I’m looking forward to being a part of the bright future here. Arkansas State and the Jonesboro community are a perfect fit for me and my family.”

Bowen ran the Memphis program from 2012 until May of 2019, just after signing a six-month extension with the Tigers. At the time, Bowen said he was leaving the job to pursue “a new career opportunity.”

While at Memphis, Bowen was credited with improvements in the Tigers athletic teams as well as a major capital upgrade effort that saw the school complete construction of a new basketball center as well as a new football training facility.

Prior to that he was the athletic director for the San Jose State University for eight years after stints working in various coaching and administrative roles in high schools, colleges and in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers.

The former Arkansas State AD Terry Mohajir left the school in February to head to the University of Central Florida.

Bowen inherits a program that saw a great deal of growth over Mohajir time, both on and off the field.

The football team just started spring practices under new head coach Butch Jones, and the school saw a continued expansion of facilities and fundraising under the previous leadership.

Originally from Colorado and raised in Georgia and California, Bowen played college football for a single season at the University of San Diego before he transferred to Notre Dame with intentions of joining the priesthood. He ended up getting a degree there and then a master’s in education at the University of San Francisco.

A new conference welcoming Bowen is scheduled for Thursday at 11 a.m.