On December 16, 2008 John Shafer was named the eighth Director of Athletics at Southeast Missouri State by University President Dr. Kenneth W. Dobbins. The hiring of Shafer marks his return the the Ohio Valley Conference as the head of an athletic department in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Shafer served as director of athletics at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) from 2003-2004. In the spring of 2004, 188 EKU student athletes were named Colonel Scholars for their academic accomplishments, establishing a new record for an academic year and tying for second for the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Academic Award. During the same year, the EKU men won the Ohio Valley Conference All-Sports Trophy and the EKU women won the co-title. The All-Sports awards were the first for their program since the mid-1990s. Also that year, the women's cross country and softball teams won conference titles, and in just that one year, football attendance increased 38.3 percent at EKU.
Prior to his tenure at Eastern Kentucky, Shafer spent many years in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), serving as Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Mississippi from 1998-2002, Senior Associate Athletic Director at the University of Georgia from 1982-1998, Assistant Athletic Director for Business at Vanderbilt University from 1981-1982 and Assistant Business Manager, a football administrative assistant and an assistant baseball coach at Auburn University.
During his 16 years at the University of Georgia, Shafer worked for Georgia Athletic Director and legendary football coach Vince Dooley. Among his duties at Georgia was to coordinate and oversee all events that the Bulldogs hosted in men's and women's conference and NCAA events. Shafer also served as the liaison between the Atlanta Olympic Committee and the University of Georgia for the 1996 Summer Olympics; supervised all coaches on a daily basis, including scheduling, compliance and budget; supervised the entire ticket operation; prepared a budget of more than $23 million; and managed its entire insurance program.
A native of Alexandria, Va., Shafer has a bachelor of science degree in health, physical education and recreation, and a master's degree in physical education from Auburn University, where he also was an all All-SEC shortstop. Following his collegiate career in baseball, Shafer played professional baseball in the Kansas City Royals organization from 1969 to 1970.
Shafer and his wife, Dianne, have one son, Michael, a 1994 graduate of William and Mary, where he played varsity basketball, and a daughter-in-law, Erin, and two granddaughters, Sophie and Sumner. Michael is currently the Head Women's Basketball coach at the University of Richmond.
"I am very pleased with John's breadth of experience and the caliber of his credentials to move our program forward and into the future," said University President, Dr. Dobbins.