Duke promoting Nina King to be next athletic director

ByAdam Rittenberg ESPN logo
Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Duke is promoting Nina King to be its next athletic director, the school announced Wednesday.

King, who joined Duke's athletic department in September 2008 and serves as senior deputy director of athletics, will replace Kevin White, who is retiring Sept. 1 after 13 years at the school. She will become the first woman to serve as Duke's athletic director and the third Black woman to lead a Power 5 athletic department, joining Virginia's Carla Williams and Vanderbilt's Candice Storey Lee.

"I am deeply committed to continuing the strong tradition of academic and athletic excellence at our world-class institution," King said in a statement. "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."

King has served as Duke's chief operating officer, overseeing legal affairs, human resources, strategic planning and other areas. She chaired the Division I women's basketball committee last season and teaches a course in Duke's business school alongside White.

"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," Duke president Vincent Price said in a statement. "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."

White called King's hiring "a magical moment" for Duke athletics, while longtime men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski said King "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."

King had been a finalist for the athletic director vacancy at Northwestern, which promoted deputy Mike Polisky but then saw him resign under pressure 10 days later. She is a 2000 graduate of Notre Dame, where she served as head manager for the women's swimming and diving program while White served as the school's athletic director. King earned a law degree from Tulane before returning to Notre Dame as an athletic administrator in 2005.

"Nina King is a terrific choice, and congratulations to Duke on an outstanding hire,"ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said in a statement. "Nina is a person of tremendous integrity with quality experiences and insight that will serve Duke, its student-athletes, coaches, alumni and fans extremely well."