New athletics director is the first Black woman to be in that position at Duke

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Wednesday, May 19, 2021
New AD is the first Black woman to hold post at Duke
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Nina King will be the first female athletics director at Duke and one of only three Black women to hold such a post at Power 5 schools.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Duke University has named a new athletic director to replace Kevin White, who is retiring Sept. 1 after 13 years on the job.

Duke President Vincent E. Price announced Wednesday that Nina King will be the next Vice President and Director of Athletics at Duke, King will be the first female athletics director at Duke and one of only three Black women to hold such a post at Power 5 schools.

She is currently Duke's senior deputy director of athletics for administration and legal affairs and chief of staff.

Nina King
Duke University

"I am thrilled that Nina will be our Vice President and Director of Athletics," Price said. "In her time at Duke, Nina has demonstrated extraordinary leadership, earning the esteem of our coaches, student-athletes, athletics staff and colleagues in athletics departments across the country. Nina is recognized as a committed advocate for inclusive excellence in collegiate athletics, and she has represented Duke on committees of the NCAA, ACC and many other national organizations. I can imagine no better person to carry on Kevin White's exceptional record at Duke."

King was selected following a national search that was led by G. Richard Wagoner, former chair of the Duke Board of Trustees, and a committee that included Duke trustees, administrators, faculty and current and former student-athletes.

"First, I am extremely grateful to President Price for providing me with this incredible opportunity to lead the very best athletics department in the country," King said. "Additionally, I'd like to express my sincere appreciation to Rick Wagoner, Valerie Ashby and the search committee for their belief in me and generous support. I am deeply committed to continuing the strong tradition of academic and athletic excellence at our world-class institution. My priority will be to ensure that the experience is truly elite for our student-athletes, coaches, staff and the entire Duke family. This is a tremendous honor, and I look forward to ushering Duke Athletics into the next chapter."

Wagoner said the search looked for a candidate with "experience, intellect and vision" and in the end, didn't have to look far for the right fit.

The only other Power 5 institutions with Black women leading their athletics departments are Vanderbilt (Candice Storey Lee) and Virginia (Carla Williams).

"This hire is an important step for the continuity of the outstanding culture that exists within Duke Athletics," basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski said of his new boss. "Serving as one of Kevin White's most trusted advisors for his entire time at Duke, Nina King has served our University well in whatever roles have been assigned to her. She has represented the Duke Department of Athletics with distinction both internally and externally, including many roles on the national stage. That national presence is important in our school's leadership position in an ever-changing college sports environment. Personally, I have enjoyed working with Nina and look forward to working with her even more in the future."

In 13 years at Duke, King has served as the chief operating officer for Duke Athletics, with direct responsibility for human resources, Recreation and Physical Education, legal and regulatory affairs, as well as strategic planning and special projects. She also oversees Duke's women's basketball and football programs.

"I am thrilled for Nina and her family. She has prepared for this opportunity her entire professional life, learning from the best of all time in Dr. White," Duke football coach David Cutcliffe said. "Nina understands what it takes to build a great program on the coaching and playing side of athletics while possessing the unique ability to sit at the business, academic and legal tables comfortably. Without question, Nina will champion the core mission of Duke University while lifting the student-athletes to a new level of excellence. Duke Football is excited to move forward."

King also co-teaches a sports business course in Duke's Fuqua School of Business as part of Duke's MBA program alongside White.

"This is truly a magical moment within the life of Duke Athletics," White said. "Nina King is indeed the absolute perfect choice to lead this storied program. Nina, unequivocally, possesses all the intellectual and relationship skills, coupled with inordinate subject knowledge, which, in my humble view, represents a very serious leadership "upgrade!" To be sure, I could not possibly be more excited for both Duke University and the amazing King family."

King is also a member of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee, helping decide selection and seeding for the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship and served as Chair in 2020-21.

King received her bachelor's degree in accountancy from the University of Notre Dame where she was a student manager and her juris doctor degree from Tulane Law School. She served internships in the Notre Dame Athletics Department, NCAA and Nike.

King and her husband, Rick, are the parents of Connor Stephan and Austin Casey.