Jeff Altier to Retire as Director of Athletics Next Spring

Jeff Altier

Jeff Altier, who began his association with Stetson University as a student-athlete in 1980, will retire as Director of Athletics after 27 years in that position, effective March 31, 2024. 

Following much deserved time off, Altier will return to the university in August as a major gifts officer in the Office of Development. 

Alicia Queally, who has been Deputy Athletics Director since joining Stetson in September 2012, will assume the role of Interim Athletics Director in April 2024.

“I’m stepping down as athletic director, but I’m not departing the university,” said Altier ’82, M.Ed. ’87. “Everything about Stetson and this job has been a passion. And that isn’t changing.” 

The relationship, spanning five decades, has typically seen Altier championing both success and growth, cited Stetson President Christopher F. Roellke, PhD.

Christopher F. Roellke, PhD, avid sports fan and Stetson president: “Jeff Altier’s contributions to Stetson and the broader region have been remarkable.”

“Jeff Altier’s contributions to Stetson and the broader region have been remarkable,” Roellke commented. “A Stetson Hall of Famer, Jeff’s work ethic, enthusiasm and Hatter spirit are unmatched. Jeff has been a valued member of my senior leadership team since my arrival at Stetson in 2020. I am personally grateful to Jeff for his insight, his depth of experience, and his drive to enhance intercollegiate athletics and community wellness. He has also been incredibly tolerant of my over-the-top cheering for Stetson student-athletes and teams. I look forward to Jeff’s continued work with our community in his capacity as a senior gift officer.”

Altier played baseball for Coach Pete Dunn, serving as captain in 1982 for a team that was nationally ranked and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. His first employment at Stetson came that same year — as a lifeguard at the Hollis Center pool, which at that time had no water. “So, my job was to protect people from jumping into the pool with no water,” he once joked.  

A few years later, after volunteering as a baseball coach and helping raise funds to pay his own salary, Altier became a full-time assistant. Then, after six years with the Hatter baseball program, he was offered a move to the administrative side of Stetson Athletics on a full-time basis. He became Director of Athletics in 1996.

wide shot of the softball complex as the sun sets
Patricia Wilson Field

Since then, Altier has guided Hatters Athletics to nearly unprecedented heights — more than doubling the number of participants with the addition of teams and facilities, along with the campus introduction of club sports. 

exterior shot of golf complex
Edinger Golf Complex

During his tenure, Stetson opened the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center, the Wilson Athletic Center, Melching Field at Conrad Park, Patricia Wilson Field, the Athletic Training Center, Cooper Beach Volleyball Courts, Edinger Golf Complex and the Sandra Stetson Aquatic Center. 

In 2012, Altier achieved his longtime dream. Stetson football returned following a 57-year hiatus, while women’s lacrosse and women’s beach volleyball became official NCAA sports on campus. Today, all totaled, more than 450 student-athletes have the opportunity to compete annually at Stetson on a national stage in 18 sports.

Football team runs onto the field against Marist. 2018
Homecoming 2019

“I’m the one who has been lucky and fortunate with all of this,” he said recently. “I got to work for fantastic presidents [including Doug Lee, PhD; Wendy B. Libby, PhD; and now Roellke]. I’ve had colleagues who are just amazing. And, with that, we’ve been able to grow and improve the athletics department. I haven’t been ‘the only guy’ in all of these achievements, but I’ve been a part of all of them.”

Additionally, aside from his duties on campus, including a seat on the President’s Cabinet, Altier held numerous NCAA leadership roles across the country. For example, he served on the National Association of College Directors of Athletics Division IAAA board of directors, the NCAA Academics Eligibility Compliance Cabinet and was a member of the NCAA Leadership Council. Also, he was a member of the NCAA Baseball selection committee and in 2021 served as committee chair, handing out the championship trophy on national TV that year. 

Further, Altier has received multiple national awards of achievement, such as the 2011 Under Armour Southeast Region Division I Athletic Director of the Year and the ASUN Conference Stellar Service Award in 2020. 

Jeff and Sarah Altier

All the while, Stetson student-athletes excelled in the classroom, maintaining a department-wide GPA in excess of 3.0.

On a personal level, Altier met his wife at Stetson. He and Sarah Altier (Stetson BA ’82, M.Ed. ’06 and a doctorate in education from the University of Florida) have two sons, a daughter and four grandchildren.

Upon returning to the university next August, Altier will focus on continuing efforts toward a major renovation of the Edmunds Center and creating an athletics endowment. Both projects are at the top of the university’s list of priorities.

So, yes, there is a planned retirement. Yet also, there is a planned return — and never a break from the passion for Stetson University.

-Michael Candelaria