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Nina King set to replace Kevin White as Duke's next athletic director

Nina King was named Duke's next athletic director Wednesday afternoon.
Nina King was named Duke's next athletic director Wednesday afternoon.

Duke has found its next athletic director, and it didn't have to look too far.

Nina King will be named the next Blue Devil athletic director, succeeding current athletic director Kevin White, President Vincent Price announced Wednesday afternoon. Yahoo!'s Pete Thamel was first to report the news earlier Wednesday.

"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 in the official release. "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."

King has been with Duke since 2008, and is currently the Senior Deputy Director of Athletics for Administration/Legal Affairs and Chief of Staff. In addition, King has made a name for herself across college athletics, so much so that she was named to the Sports Business Journal's Forty under 40 2018 list. One of her several big achievements in the past few years was founding and leading the Rubenstein-Bing ACE program, a cross-country civic engagement partnership between Duke and Stanford's student-athletes.

King also teaches a graduate sports business class in Duke's Fuqua School of Business with White, and has one more year on the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee where she previously was the Chair for the 2020-21 season. 

Her hire makes King the first woman as well as the first Black person to hold the athletic director position at Duke. 

"I am thrilled that Nina will be our Vice President and Director of Athletics," Price said in the release. "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."

White, who has served in the role since 2008, announced his retirement in January and will hand the job over to King Sept. 1. 

“This is truly a magical moment within the life of Duke Athletics," White said in the release. "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 has known White since her time as Director of Rules and Education in the Notre Dame Athletics Department from 2005-08, and she made the jump from Notre Dame to Duke in 2008 along with White, shortly after he was named Duke’s athletic director. 

King also did her undergraduate accounting degree at Notre Dame while serving as the student manager for the women’s swimming and diving team, and after she went on to complete a juris doctor degree from Tulane Law School.

In addition to the high praise from Price and White, a number of Duke coaches expressed their excitement and own praise over King's hiring, including men's basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

“This hire is an important step for the continuity of the outstanding culture that exists within Duke Athletics. 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," Krzyzewski said in the release. "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.”

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.


Max Rego

Max Rego is a Trinity junior and sports managing editor for The Chronicle's 117th volume.

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