Fayetteville Tech athletic director Mike Neal will retire July 31, capping a three-decade long career in athletic administration.
Neal, 57, said his wife, Tanya, and the couple’s three children — ages 22, 18 and 10 — were at the heart of his decision.
“It’s just the right time for my family and me to move on to the next chapter, whatever that may be,” Neal said. “I want to be able to spend more time with them.”
Neal is FTCC’s first athletic director, steering the Trojan intercollegiate athletics program since its inception in 2016 when the college fielded men’s and women’s teams in basketball and golf.
Since then, the Trojans have added volleyball, softball and baseball.
Neal came to FTCC from Central Carolina Community College, where he started in 1990 as student activities director before becoming the school’s athletic director tasked with starting up its athletics program in 1991.
Neal, whose father was in the Army, moved around during his youth. But after graduating from Western Illinois University in 1986, he took a job with Lee County’s recreation department and has remained in North Carolina ever since.
During his career, Neal served on several regional and national boards, most recently as the NJCAA Region 10 chair for men’s golf and Division II men’s basketball and a member of the National Alliance of Two Year College Athletic Administrators’ Executive Committee.
Neal said seeing students develop was the most rewarding part of working in college athletics.
“What I’ll miss the most is events where we showcase our student-athletes, whether that be in athletic events, graduation or SGA events,” Neal said. “It’s so rewarding to see students doing things for themselves and coming into their own.”