Jeff Cleanthes, assistant athletic director and head baseball coach at Rhodes, has been named the college’s new director of athletics, effective March 2016.
Cleanthes came to Rhodes in 2003 from Keuka College in Keuka Park, NY, where he was the head baseball coach. During his tenure at Rhodes, the baseball program has had great success, including consistently ranking in the top 30 in Division III; winning the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) conference; competing in the NCAA tournament; and placing players on the academic conference honor roll, as well as earning All American honors.
Not only has he maintained tremendous relationships with alumni and parents of the players, Cleanthes has also initiated two major fundraising efforts—one in 2008 to add a grand stand, press box, new dugouts, warning track, and bullpens to the baseball complex, and the other in 2011 to renovate storage space into a locker room and baseball offices behind the first base dugout. The facility is now one of the finest in Division III.
In 2008, Cleanthes received Rhodes’ Outstanding Administrator Award and was described as a mentor who inspires students to participate fully in all that they do. “It’s his ability to put the players first—staying at the office or on the field from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. because he knows a player needs his advice or assistance,” wrote one nominator. “His greatest asset is his concern for the welfare of each player.” He will continue to coach through the 2016-2017 season.
Cleanthes holds a MBA in professional accounting from Rutgers University and a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Drew University. He served as chair of the South Region NCAA Division III Baseball Committee from 2010 to 2014 and currently serves as SAA Chair for the baseball council. He succeeds Mike Clary who announced his retirement as athletics director at Rhodes in December 2015 after leading the program for 26 years.