A former outstanding infielder at Jesuit (an All-State selection who played for a state title team in 1950) and Tulane where he was captain of the team in the early 1950's, Retif saved the Tulane program with financial contributions in 1966 when the Green Wave gave consideration to making baseball a club sport.
He took over the program a year later as an unpaid head coach and built a 123-73 (.628) record and coached the Wave to national prominence including a No. 1 national ranking in 1971. A highly-successful businessman and a major backer of the Green Wave program, financing team locker rooms and other necessities, his uniform number at Tulane is retired for his impact as a player, coach and supporter.
He holds an annual golf tournament benefitting many of his New Orleans-area charitable causes. For years, Retif has been a major sponsor of American Legion baseball programs for Jesuit and Archbishop Shaw high schools. He has received Shaw's Don Bosco Award for being a "role model for youth through sports and school activities." His alma mater, Jesuit, voted him Outstanding Alumnus in 1993. He has created an endowment for students there. Coaches, parents, and former players say his support far surpassed check-writing and fundraising.
Soon after the 1975 opening of the Superdome, Retif was instrumental in staging a baseball exhibition between the Yankees and Red Sox, with proceeds going to Grambling State and Christian Brothers School in New Orleans. He was the cornerstone of a push to raise funds for the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame earlier this century, helping organize support in New Orleans from civic and business leaders.