Courtesy of Johnson C. Smith Athletics
Johnson C. Smith University announced today that Stephen Joyner Sr. ’73 will step down from his position as Director of Athletics after 18 years of service. Joyner has agreed to serve until his successor is announced. He will remain in his position as head coach of the men’s basketball team.
Joyner said this is a good time to step down from his Director of Athletics position as the University prepares for a new president. “The timing is right,” Joyner said. “It will be good for the new president to hire new Athletics department leadership as the University’s transformation initiatives accelerate with the new president’s vision for JCSU.”
President Clarence D. Armbrister praised Joyner for his long tenure as athletics director, particularly his dedication to student-athletes and his commitment to growing the athletics program. “Coach Joyner has guided the Athletics department through years of change in intercollegiate athletics, realignment in the CIAA and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic. He has also been instrumental in the first visible signs of the recent transformation of our athletics program with the installation of artificial turf on the football field and the development of an Athletic Resource Center for all of our student-athletes that will house among other things an academic support center and training facilities,” said Armbrister. “His immense contributions to Johnson C. Smith University’s Athletics department and to the CIAA will endure. The University is grateful for his service, and we look forward to him having even more success as he continues as head men’s basketball coach.”
Joyner, a stand-out point guard on the Golden Bulls basketball teams from 1969-1973, returned to his alma mater as assistant women’s basketball coach in 1978 and became the head coach in 1980. He was named head men’s basketball coach in 1987 and was appointed as Director of Athletics on April 1, 2005, by President Dorothy Cowser Yancy. During his tenure as Athletics Director, the Golden Bulls have claimed CIAA titles in track and field (indoor – 2017; outdoor – 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016), women’s basketball (2009, 2017) and men’s basketball (2001, 2008, 2009). Track and field produced national champions under his leadership, including four Olympians (2012, 2016, 2021), and JCSU hosted the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 2007, 2010 and 2018 – the only HBCU to serve as host site. He was named CIAA Athletics Director of the Year for the 2008-2009 season.
Golden Bulls student-athletes have also excelled in academics during Joyner’s tenure. Nearly 600 student-athletes have received their undergraduate degrees, half have graduated with honors, and many have earned graduate degrees. Several student-athletes also have been valedictorian or salutatorian of their class. In 2010, both the valedictorian and salutatorian were student-athletes.
Joyner said he’s proud of the work he has done as Director of Athletics. “I have made sure the Athletics department puts an emphasis on the student part of student-athlete. We have a good graduation rate, and I’m fulfilled when I see them become productive citizens and leaders.”
He said he’s very proud to have helped guide the women athletics administrators who have served under him and moved on to have exciting careers in athletics administration at other institutions, including Ivy League institutions.
Solidifying the men’s basketball program will become Joyner’s focus. His record as head coach is 586-410. “I treasure coaching, and I look forward to spending the next year or two focusing on the men’s basketball team and positioning it for the post-Joyner years,” he said. “We started bouncing back from the effects COVID-19 this year. I’m confident we will be better next season and hope to hit the milestone of 600 victories.”
JCSU will conduct a national search for a new Director of Athletics.