Alabama deputy AD Jeff Purinton named Arkansas State athletics director

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Alabama executive deputy athletics director Jeff Purinton has accepted a job to become Arkansas State's athletics director, the school announced Wednesday. 

Purinton has been in his current role since 2021 but has been with the Crimson Tide for 15 years, joining the staff not long after Nick Saban arrived. 

Purinton, 46, has served in a variety of roles, starting as the associate athletics director for communications in 2007. He served in that role as spokesperson for Saban and Alabama football until 2015. Then he became senior associate AD until 2018, when he was promoted to executive associate AD (2018-19) and deputy AD (2019-21). 

In his most recent role at Alabama, Purinton worked as the sports administrator who oversaw football and both golf programs. He also previously served as men's basketball administrator. 

"My family and I want to thank everyone at the University of Alabama for an amazing 15 years working with the Crimson Tide," Purinton said in a statement.  "We've developed lifelong friends and relationships during our time at UA, and we are so appreciative of the opportunity we had in Tuscaloosa. (Athletics director) Greg Byrne and Coach Saban have been so supportive, especially during this process, and I want to thank them specifically."

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Purinton heading to Jonesboro means he will reunite with Butch Jones. Arkansas State's football coach worked under Saban and with Purinton from 2018-2020. 

Saban said in a statement he has no doubt Purinton will "make an outstanding AD for Arkansas State."

"He works extremely hard, he thinks ahead and is proactive when you deal with any big-picture issues, and he does it with a positive attitude," Saban said. "Anytime we've had to deal with a high pressure or stressful situation, he's calm and doesn't get flustered in those moments." 

Purinton also assisted Byrne in the search for men's basketball coach Nate Oats. Purinton and Byrne traveled to meet with Oats. 

"They did an outstanding job of presenting all of the positive things Alabama had to offer and answered each and every question we had," Oats said in a statement. "Knowing Jeff would be our sport administrator for men's basketball was an important factor, and his support has been a key part of what we are building here."

Prior to arriving in Tuscaloosa, Purinton served as director of media relations and communications for the Orange Bowl Committee. Before that, Purinton worked for Florida State in communications from 1998-2006. 

A native of Palatka, Florida, he graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees from Florida State. 

"Arkansas State hit a home run with Jeff Purinton," Byrne said in a statement. "He is going to be a very successful AD."

Nick Kelly covers Alabama football and men's basketball for The Tuscaloosa News, part of the USA TODAY Network. Reach him at nkelly@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly