Joe Stetser is a special person in the eyes of the Hall of Fame Committee because he is the first Southwestern College student athlete to receive acclamation for his athletic accomplishments on a national level. After prepping at Hilltop High School from 1961 to 1963, Joe enrolled in the brand new Southwestern College in September 1963, bringing with him athletic honors he earned in football, basketball, and baseball.
At Southwestern, Joe continued to hone his athletic skills, becoming a standout athlete in football, basketball and baseball. He earned All-American and All-Pacific West Conference honors as quarterback and defensive back in 1964. He also served as captain of the football, basketball and baseball teams. After earning his A.A. degree in 1966, Joe enrolled at Chico State University from 1966 to 1968, participating in football and baseball. An immediate success at the Division II level, Joe led the nation in total offense for two years in a row, and in 1967, he led the nation in passing. He was selected to the All-Far West Conference Team and an All-American in 1966 and 1967. In 1969 he was selected to the All Chico State Team of the Century for football, in 1977 to the city of Chico Sports Hall of Fame, and in 1987 to CSU, Chico’s Hall of Fame.
After working many summers as a Ranger in Yellowstone Park, Joe earned his B.A. degree from Chico State University in 1968 and began a successful career of teaching and coaching in the Paradise Valley School District, Phoenix, Arizona for 30 years. His duties included serving as Dean of Students for 10 years, Athletic Director for 10 years, baseball coach for 15 years, and football coach for 4 years. He introduced soccer as a competitive sport to the district in 1974.
Other highlights in Joe’s remarkable career include guiding North Canyon High School to the Women’s Outstanding State Athletics Award in 1999 and serving on a committee of educators who helped formulate a drug testing program for the Paradise Valley School District. Joe has taught 1 ½ years as a Continuing Education teacher in the Sweetwater Union High School District, and he taught 2 years at Hadfield High School, Melbourne, Australia where he coached swimming, basketball and track and field.
Joe is the proud father of two children. His daughter, Joey, lives in Missouri and played golf for the University of Colorado. His son, Jarrod, lives in Tempe, Arizona, and is a vocal supporter of Arizona State University athletics, where he is a sponsor for Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity.
Joe’s best memory from his time at Southwestern College is the day Head Basketball Coach “Bud” Milke announced in front of his team members that Joe had been selected as the first All-American in football from Southwestern and that Joe had been chosen as Captain of the basketball team for 1964. Joe reflects on the fact that this was the first time in his educational/athletic career where his hard work and dedication were recognized in front of his peers.
The Southwestern College Athletic Hall of Fame is proud to welcome Joe Stetser into the Class of 2017.