Johnson C. Smith University announced Wednesday that Stephen Joyner Sr. will step down as the school’s athletics director after 18 years of service. Joyner will continue as the head coach of the men’s basketball team until his successor is named.
Joyner stated that his decision to step down as AD aligns with the university’s preparations for a new president.
“The timing is right,” Joyner expressed. “It will be beneficial for the new president to select new leadership for the athletics department as JCSU’s transformation initiatives progress under their vision.”
President Clarence D. Armbrister commended Joyner for his extensive tenure as athletics director, highlighting his dedication to student-athletes and the growth of the athletics program.
“Coach Joyner has successfully led the athletics department through significant changes in intercollegiate athletics, CIAA realignment, and the recent challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Armbrister stated. “He has played a vital role in the visible advancements of our athletics program, such as installing artificial turf on the football field and establishing an Athletic Resource Center. The university appreciates his immense contributions to Johnson C. Smith University’s athletics department and the CIAA. We anticipate his continued success as he remains the head coach of the men’s basketball team.”
Joyner, a standout point guard for the Golden Bulls basketball teams from 1969 to 1973, rejoined his alma mater as an assistant women’s basketball coach in 1978 before assuming the head coach position in 1980. In 1987, he became the head coach of the men’s basketball team and was appointed director of athletics by then-president Dorothy Cowser Yancy on April 1, 2005. Under Joyner’s guidance as athletics director, the Golden Bulls have secured multiple CIAA titles in track and field, women’s and men’s basketball. Notably, the track and field program produced national champions and hosted the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 2007, 2010, and 2018, making JCSU the sole HBCU to serve as a host site. Joyner was recognized as the CIAA Athletics Director of the Year for the 2008-2009 season.
During Joyner’s tenure, student-athletes at JCSU have excelled academically, with nearly 600 of them earning undergraduate degrees, half of them graduating with honors, and many pursuing graduate degrees. Several student-athletes have also achieved valedictorian or salutatorian status in their class. In 2010, both the valedictorian and salutatorian were student-athletes.
Joyner expressed his pride in the emphasis placed on the “student” aspect of being a student-athlete within the athletics department. He highlighted the department’s commendable graduation rate and found fulfillment in witnessing student-athletes evolve into productive citizens and leaders.
Additionally, Joyner expressed his pride in mentoring women athletics administrators who have subsequently pursued successful careers in athletics administration at prestigious institutions, including Ivy League schools.
Joyner will dedicate his efforts to strengthening the men’s basketball program. With a head coaching record of 586-410, he emphasized his passion for coaching and his focus on positioning the team for success beyond his tenure. Joyner stated, “We have begun to recover from the effects of COVID-19 this year. I am confident that we will improve further next season and strive to achieve the milestone of 600 victories.”
JCSU intends to conduct a nationwide search to find a new director of athletics.
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