In a surprise announcement Friday afternoon, Kevin White announced that he plans to retire as Duke's athletic director in August, per a Duke Athletics press release.
The release added that White will continue to serve as an adjunct professor at Duke's Fuqua School of Business, where he teaches a course on sports business.
"This unequivocally represents the most difficult professional decision that I have ever made," White said in the release. "As I look forward to completing my 47th year in higher education, including teaching, coaching, and administration, it is simply the right time to step aside and provide a distinct opportunity for both new and different voices, and a more contemporary vision."
White was hired as Duke's athletic director in 2008, replacing Joe Alleva, who left Duke to take the athletic director position at LSU. Before coming to Durham, White served as athletic director at Notre Dame, Arizona State, Tulane, Maine and Loras.
"Kevin White has been, throughout his extraordinary career, a dynamic and impactful leader in intercollegiate athletics and higher education," Duke University President Vincent Price said. "His magnificent accomplishments as vice president and director of athletics at Duke built upon an already-secure legacy as a luminary in the world of sport. Kevin has been a treasured member of our senior leadership team, remarkable for his unwavering commitment to our scholar-athletes and to the collaborative pursuit of excellence on and off the field of competition."
Price added that a national search for White's successor would begin soon.
Under White, Duke has won eight NCAA championships: women's tennis in 2009, men's basketball in 2010 and 2015, men's lacrosse in 2010, 2013 and 2014, and women's golf in 2014 and 2019. Duke has also won 23 ACC titles during White's tenure.
ACC Commissioner John Swofford and NCAA President Mark Emmert both provided statements on White's retirement.
“College athletics will miss Kevin White," Swofford said. "He has been a North Star his entire career and has proven to be one of the best athletic directors in the country for decades. Kevin is a tremendous friend and colleague who I have relied on for counsel on numerous occasions over the years. Simply put, there is no one I respect more. I congratulate Kevin on a truly extraordinary career. Nora and I wish he and Jane all the best in their next chapter.”
“The NCAA would like to congratulate Kevin White on a tremendous career in intercollegiate athletics, culminating at Duke University," Emmert said. "For the better part of three decades, Kevin provided extraordinary guidance at six different institutions. He did so while serving as a pioneer for diversity and inclusion efforts and balancing other key roles, including serving as chair of the Division I Men’s Basketball Committee. Student-athletes, coaches and administrators throughout the country have benefited from his visionary leadership. I wish him the very best moving forward.”
Prior to his career as an educator, coach and administrator, White competed as a sprinter at St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Ind., later earning his master's degree in athletics administration from Central Michigan University and a Ph.D. higher education administration from Southern Illinois University. He also completed postdoctoral work at Harvard University's Institute for Educational Management.
"To be sure, I have been so lucky to serve a number of world class institutions, a zillion terribly gifted student-athletes, the very best coaches in the business, amazing administrative teams and highly successful departments, as well as countless of the most committed benefactors and fans, while being most graciously supported by fellow administrative and faculty colleagues, and specifically, eight college and university presidents," White added. "Given that, I must convey a very special thank you to Dick Brodhead, who very generously invited me to serve Duke University, and to Vince Price, who inherited a senior citizen Vice President/Director of Athletics and could not have been more supportive and personally accommodating.
"Finally, I must convey a public thank you to my spouse, Jane, with whom I began athletics career back in 1973 as a highly enthusiastic teaching and coaching duo! And, I also want to thank our kids, all five of whom have become esteemed educators in their own rights. Given that, this journey has been extremely gratifying, as well as deeply rewarding."
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