At a press conference in the Mitchell Center today, Athletic Director Joe Gottfried announced that effective August 1st he will retire. This marks the end of an era of unprecedented success in athletics at the University of South Alabama under his guidance.
President Gordon Moulton will conduct a nationwide search for his successor at the University.
Gottfried said the following at the press conference, “It has been a terrific experience, I have been very fortunate to have been surrounded by an outstanding group of coaches, student-athletes, support and administrative staff. To be able to have the success and accomplish the many things we have, you need to have the support of the President and the Board of Trustees. I have felt that has been a big plus, it made my job much easier.”
“Obviously I am very proud about what has been accomplished and to have been a member of the South Alabama family for 28 years. It’s been important to me and my family. We will always be Jaguars and will continue to follow the progress of not only the athletic program but the University as well.”
University President Gordon Moulton commended Gottfried on his many years of service to the University. “Anyone who cares about University of South Alabama athletics owes a debt of gratitude to Joe Gottfried, who has led the growth and expansion of the Jaguar athletic program for more than a quarter century. He has guided Jaguar Athletics to new heights of accomplishment and has set the stage for greater achievement in the future. The entire University of South Alabama family appreciates his contribution, and we trust that he will remain a familiar face at Jaguar athletic events.”
The Jaguar Athletic program has experienced success in competition as well as in the classroom. He has been key in the development of numerous athletic facilities but also on the community with the recent addition of the football program to USA.
During his time at USA, the Jags was presented with the Vic Bubas Cup which goes to the program that demonstrates excellence in the league’s now 19 sports. USA has claimed this honor 10 times in a 13 year span, which no other school in league history has earned more than USA.
Here are some raw numbers. Overall, Men’s and Lady Jaguars have won 104 league titles, USA Teams have appeared in 54 NCAA Championship events, individuals have qualified for NCAA postseason action 123 times (this inclues two track and field athletes who have won NCAA titles). 75 USA student-athletes have earned All-America recognition while 62 coaches have been selected to the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year in their sports. 95 baseball players have signed with teams in the professional ranks, including 17 who have gone on to the Major’s.
With the addition of football, the athletic department is now supporting an all-time high number of student-athletes at around 300.
In the classroom the students have excelled as well. In the most recent Academic Progress Rate report that was released by the NCAA, 13 of USA’s 16 programs scored above the 925 standard set by the NCAA. While Gottfried has been at USA, 83% of the student-athletes have graduated and 37 USA student-athletes have been named to the SBC Commissioner’s List for maintaining a 3.5 GPA or better with another 32 who have made the SBC Academic Honor Roll with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in 2007-2008.
Gottfried has been instrumental in the following buildings on campus: $30 Million Mitchell Center, a $3.5 Million renovation to Stanky Field, a 4,000 square-foot clubhouse, the intramural fields on campus, a $1 Million football field house to open this summer, a new Softball adn Soccer locker room and office complex, A new softball field, improvements to ‘The Cage’ (the soccer facility), the USA Track Complex and the Bruce David Lubel Memorial Tennis Courts. Future plans are a new academic center, upgrades to the track and field venue with new seating, lights and locker rooms.
Gottfried was also instrumental in getting the Sun Belt Conference basketball tournament to Mobile for the first time in 1991 and would also bring the highest attendance at the event in 20 years.
This is merely a few highlights to his great time here at the University of South Alabama. President Moulton will have very large shoes to fill.
From the fans of Jaguar sports, we thank you Coach Gottfried for your years of great service to the University and its fans. We are proud at what you have done for USA and we hope you have a great retirement. You are always welcome in the stands and we will miss you.