Duke’s King embraces being role model as black woman AD

Associated Press
Associated Press

May 25, 2021

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Nina King knows she faces a big responsibility in taking over as Duke’s athletics director (AD) later this year. It’s not just about managing a 27-sport programme in a marquee league.

Nina King fist-bumps Duke President Vincent Price during a press conference where she was introduced as Duke’s new athletic director on Friday at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. (AP)

King will become only the third black woman AD in a power conference. Two have come in a year, a sign of progress when it comes to diversity hiring in leadership roles in major college athletics.

King hopes it’s a start.

“I do feel a great responsibility, and I embrace that,” King said Friday during her introductory campus news conference. “I am excited, and … I want to show little girls who look like me that this is possible.” 

The school announced King’s promotion Wednesday, saying the administrator would take over officially September 1 with the retirement of Kevin White. King, 42, is currently a senior deputy athletic director for administration and legal affairs as well as chief of staff, working on White’s staff at Duke since 2008.

She joins Carla Williams at fellow Atlantic Coast Conference school Virginia and Candice Lee at Vanderbilt in the Southeastern Conference as the only black women serving as ADs among the 65 power-conference schools. Williams was the first in October 2017, while Lee followed almost exactly one year ago after working as interim AD.

The other women ADs in the Power Five are Heather Lyke with Pittsburgh in the ACC, Sandy Barbour with Penn State in the Big Ten and Jennifer Cohen with Washington in the Pac-12.

“Listen, we need to get better,” King said. “Six female ADs in the Power Five? I mean, three Black females? We need to do better. And I’m happy to kind of be the next step toward progress, and I’m committed to helping ensure that more females, more people of colour, have opportunities like I do.”


Associated Press


Associated Press


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