Last week Southeast Missouri State University athletic director John Shafer retired after about 2 1/2 years of leading the department.
Shafer, making the announcement earlier in the month that his retirement would be effective June 30, said in a news release that he needed to "devote some quality time to my family" and that both he and his wife, Dianne, had parents in need of assistance.
While Shafer's time at Southeast was relatively short, it was impactful.
One word to capture his time at Southeast is stability. Despite two NCAA probations in the relatively recent past, Shafer positively impacted the department -- both in athletics and in the classroom.
It was Shafer who stuck with football coach Tony Samuel, a decision that led to the program's first Ohio Valley Conference title and playoff berth. And it was Shafer who was at the helm of the department when the university saw more student-athletes receive academic honors than ever before in the university's athletics history.
Cindy Gannon, Southeast's associate director of athletics/senior woman administrator, will fill Shafer's post on an interim basis until the replacement takes over. And though we do not know whom will be hired to lead the department on a more permanent basis, we do know that person will benefit from the leadership previously provided by John Shafer.
We're sad to see John leave the university, but we're happy that he and Dianne plan to continue living in Cape Girardeau. The community is thankful for the leadership and service they have provided to Southeast athletics, and we wish them the best.