On Wednesday, July 12, Auxiliary Services welcomed Chef Jeff Dover to its Campus Dining team as the unit’s first-ever Associate Director of Athletic Dining. Dover comes to Syracuse after a lengthy career at Pennsylvania State University, which saw him rise from student-athlete to chef to general manager.
Chef Dover will be based in the John A. Lally Athletics Complex, which is currently undergoing a multi-phase renovation to create a state-of-the-art academic and athletics village for the University’s 600 student-athletes. After the completion of the complex entranceway in February 2023, the next phase of construction, already underway, will include a new football operations center and a “One Team” Olympic sports center.
When construction is complete, student-athletes will have access to new fueling and performance nutrition spaces, alongside a new cafeteria and dining center, greatly expanding the footprint of dining and nutrition at the Lally Complex.
“This is the perfect moment to develop and launch a new, focused athletic dining program” said Cheryl Fabrizi, associate vice president of Auxiliary Services. “As new facilities come online at the Lally Complex, Athletic Dining, led by Chef Dover, will provide a comprehensive, next-level dining program for all of our student-athletes.”
Dover will work closely with the performance nutrition team in the Athletics Department. Under his direction, Athletic Dining will craft menus based upon the different nutritional needs, tastes, and preferences of individual student-athletes and their coaches, trainers, and teams throughout the year – in-season, training, and pre- and post-game. Dover will strive to incorporate food industry trends and the latest in nutrition research to deliver food that supports the daily needs and demands of student-athletes’ physical and mental health.
“Athletic Dining has an incredible opportunity to integrate our work with that of our partners in Athletics,” said Dover. “I am excited to enhance Syracuse’s Division 1 student-athlete experience by supporting their overall wellness and performance in the classroom and on the field.”
At Penn State, Dover’s studies in kinesiology focused on athletic performance, sport biomechanics, and nutrition, and he was able to apply this knowledge when competing in cross country and indoor and outdoor track for the Nittany Lions.
In his post-graduate career, Dover ascended to sous chef for Penn State Hospitality Services, where he was responsible for restaurant operations at two campus-based hotels, as well as large-scale banquet services, and off-premises catered events.
From 2013-2019, as chef of Penn State’s 16,000-seat on-campus arena, Bryce Jordan Center, Dover re-established a direct link with the Athletic Department, providing training tables for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as crafting menus and event themes for Athletic administration, big-name concert and touring acts, as well as the Mount Nittany Club, a 4,000-seat capacity club located at Penn State’s Beaver Stadium, one of the largest college football venues in the country.
Dover originally hails from Northeastern Pennsylvania and is an avid culinarian who enjoys exploring food destinations that further inspire his personal and professional cuisine creations. He also considers himself a college sports historian, and the Syracuse men’s basketball battles of the 1980s (particularly against then-Big East foe Georgetown) represent his very fondest memories of the pinnacle of college sport and competition.