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Dr. Joel Thirer 1989-09
Induction Class of 2011

A native of the Bronx, Joel Thirer served as director of athletics at Binghamton from 1989-2009. During his 20-year tenure, the athletics department completed a dramatic transformation from a modest NCAA Division III program to an expansive and flourishing Division I program.

Thirer arrived on campus in 1989 with both a national reputation in teaching, research and administration and a passion for intercollegiate athletics. A noted sports psychologist who earned a Ph.D. from Florida State University, Thirer also administered the disciplines of health, physical education and recreation during his tenure and each enjoyed a substantial boost in breadth, funding and participation.

A strong advocate of athletics and its role within the university's mission, Thirer served as an ambassador through frequent speaking engagements with alumni and community service groups.

Thirer initiated unprecedented growth to the athletics program in the form of aggressive fund-raising, full-time coaches and staff, increased funding, facility upgrades and widespread athletics success. He played a pivotal role in the strategic planning for the construction of two marquis athletics facilities — the Events Center and the Bearcat Sports Complex — and also spearheaded substantial renovations to the West Gym.

His crowning achievement was administering the program's bold transition to NCAA Division I status and securing membership in the America East Conference in 2001. The move instantly lifted the status of athletics and the university in the eyes of students, community and alumni and gave BU fans near and far a strong sense of Bearcat pride.

During his tenure, BU teams won two America East Academic Cups, hosted multiple conference championships and produced eight NCAA individual champions, 92 All-Americans and 48 conference championship teams. In addition, 17 teams spanning eight different sports ranked among the top 10 in the nation under his direction.

In 2007, Thirer was recognized by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) as the Division I Athletics Director of the Year for the entire Northeast region. He was also recognized by his peers in the form of committee leadership within the State University of New York Athletic Conference and later the America East Conference.
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