CHARLESTON, S.C. - Bringing 29 years of experience in Division I athletics from East Carolina, Furman, USC and Liberty University, Jeff Barber started as the new Athletic Director of Charleston Southern University at the beginning of June.
Barber started his career teaching kindergarten through fifth grade physical education. After coaching basketball and football for a middle school, he went to work as the Assistant General Manager for the Columbia Mets. The next year he took the job as Director of Operations for the Montreal Expos, now known as the Washington Nationals.
Barber says he is bringing a little bit of everything to CSU from his past experience.
"I've learned a little bit from everybody," Barber said. "What I want to do is come to Charleston Southern, learn what this culture is and start picking from my experience what is needed here."
Listening to the radio while driving to work at Furman one morning, Barber heard a young woman who had just won the swimsuit portion of the Miss South Carolina Competition give her testimony. He thought to himself, "She seems like a neat girl." The same day two friends suggested to Barber that he meet this young lady. He met the young woman's mother, also a Furman employee, a week or two later to get her number. Three months later, Barber and Donna were engaged; only to get married a brief eight months after that.
Barber tells others they have been married 52 years. He has been married to her for 26 years, and she has been married to him for 26 years. Twenty-six, or 52, years later Barber and his wife have three children: Katie, 23; Lindsay, 21; and Jay, 20. Lindsay and Jay both played sports growing up. Lindsay played volleyball, while Jay followed in his father's footsteps playing basketball.
Barber's first project at CSU is to start with academics and compliance, which he believes work hand in hand.
"My early goal is learn as much as I can, make some progress and do what I can to make this department greater every day."
Here are some interesting facts about Jeff Barber.
Favorite Color: Navy Blue
Favorite Sport to Play: Golf
Nickname: In seventh grade I was called 'Pistol Pete'
Secret Talent: I can play the guitar, and I used to sing in weddings
Favorite Professional Athlete: Bart Starr, he was the QB for Green Bay Packers. I have a signed jersey and personal letter from him.
Dream Vacation Spot: A private island in the Caribbean
Favorite Meal: Steak, medium well
Favorite Holiday: Christmas
Proudest Accomplishment as an Athletic Director: While I was an A.D. at Liberty, we maintained the Christian culture. We grew tremendously in 11 years and throughout all the growth, and all the changes we maintained the purpose of doing it for The Lord. We didn't compromise.
If you could go back to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give? I would go back to 12 year old me and tell myself to read the bible every day.
Most Prized Possession: Besides my family, my letter from Bart Starr.
Favorite Hobby: Golf
Favorite thing about Charleston: Close to the beach and good seafood
Favorite Movie: Jason Bourne Trilogy
What career did you intend on pursuing while in college: High school basketball coach
Life Motto: "Do the right thing and leave the consequences to God." I saw that on a bumper sticker in the Toys "R" Us parking lot after dropping my kids off at school one day.
Barber plans to integrate faith into the athletics department by following the guidelines of the University with every hire made. Staff and coaches will be held to the standard of being good, Christian examples with the hope of "seeing some students come to know Jesus."
On a personal level, Barber hopes The Lord will use him in the lives of others.
"I want people to see Jesus in the way I do this job."
Professionally, he wants to win.
"Winning is the deodorant for a lot of problems, in the locker room, and with alumni and fans."