Joe Gottfried, a native of Crestline, Ohio, became a member of the South Alabama Department of Athletics in 1981 when he was named Assistant Athletic Director. In 1984, Gottfried was named Director of Athletics at USA. During his tenure, Jaguar teams have won 82 conference championships. Gottfried has guided South Alabama to 10 of the last 17 Sun Belt Conference Commissioner’s Cups, while the program has placed no lower than seventh in the annual Sun Belt competition, signifying overall athletic excellence. Under his reign, the academic support program became the model of the Sun Belt Conference. Jaguar athletic facilities also grew at USA, such as upgrades to the South Alabama Field House, USA Track Facility the Bruce David Lubel tennis courts and most recently Stanky Field. In 1999 , the 10,000-seat Mitchell Center Complex was completed. Under his tutelage, USA has hosted 23 Sun Belt Conference Championship events.