Joseph (Jay) Gardiner was named Oglethorpe's Athletic Director in November of 2004. Since his arrival, the Stormy Petrels have seen facilities upgrades and improved funding for all of Oglethorpe's 14 programs. Oglethorpe's competitiveness has also steadily improved as a response to Jay's stated goal of "Winning Championship's while maintaining the academic integrity of the University." In 2006, as a reward for his good work, Jay was given additional responsibilities and was named Assistant Dean within the Office of Student Affairs.Jay has worked at all levels of intercollegiate athletics having previously served as the Associate Athletic Director at both Tulane University and Miami University (OH) for a combined nine years. Jay's primary responsibility at both institutions was to serve as a member of the athletic department's management team while leading the fund raising arm. Jay was responsible for raising in excess of $35 million during his years in athletic development. Prior to serving at the Division I level, Jay was an Athletic Director at Division III St. Mary's College of Maryland and at Division II Bellarmine University (KY). Jay also coached men's basketball and women's tennis at St. Mary's. His 1991 men's basketball team captured the Capital Athletic Conference crown and Jay was recognized as the Conference's Coach of the Year. He also served as the President of the CAC in 1992-93.
Jay played Division III basketball and lacrosse at McDaniel College in Westminster, MD (Formerly Western Maryland College). He has his BA from McDaniel College in 1979 and his Masters from Bowie State University in Bowie, MD in 1988.
Jay has served the NCAA as a member of the Division III Leadership training program in 2005-06 and has also served on the Division III Men's Soccer Committee representing the Central region.
Gardiner is married to the former Tara Glass, a University of Georgia graduate. Together, Tara and Jay have five children. The Gardiner's live in Cherokee County where Tara teaches fourth grade at Avery Elementary School.