Joel Thirer arrived at Binghamton in 1989. In the fall of 2001, Binghamton completed a five-year transition from Division III, through Division II and finally into Division I.
Thirer is active in community service, and reaches out to BU alumni and area residents. The Binghamton University Athletic Club and the Athletic Hall of Fame were founded during Thirer's administration, and he initiated the first Colonial Open Golf Tournament. Thirer played a pivotal role in the stretegic planning for the construction of BU's Events Center and the brand new "Bearcats Sports Complex," as well as renovations to the West Gym.
Within the America East Conference, Thirer is a past chair of the Athletic Directors Council and member of the Conference Strategic Planning. Thirer was also recognized by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) as the "Division I Athletic Director of the Year" for the entire Northeast region in 2007.
Thirer spent nine years at Southern Illinois University heading the school's graduate program in physical education. He established a national reputation as a scholar in sport psychology. He then accepted a department chairmanship at Illinois State University, and spent the next four years in full-time administration.
In addition to all of his other responsibilities, he holds an adjunct appointment as a professor in the Psychology Department.
Thirer completed a PhD in exercise science and sport psychology at Florida State University. A native of the Bronx, he is married to the former Heidi Kapel, of Franklin Square (Long Island) and Miami, and they have two grown children. Their eldest daughter, Lauren, a 2002 graduate of Cornell University, is married to Jeff Wexler, and they presently work and reside in Ithaca. Their younger daughter, Lisa, a 2006 graduate of Binghamton University, spent much of the past year working and traveling in South America.