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Duke’s Nina King loud and proud to be athletic director

Nina King, 43, was formally announced to spearhead the Blue Devils in May and showed her gratitude and school pride. The Florida native and Notre Dame graduate has made headlines for being the first woman appointed as athletic director at Duke and the third Black woman at a Power 5 school. King replaced Kevin White for the position, who has served 13 years. Before the announcement, King served Duke as a senior deputy director of athletics for administration and legal affairs and chief of staff, working under the tutelage of White. 

Duke’s former chair of Trustees, Richard Wagoner, selected King after a national search, further backed and supported by the university’s committee, administrators, faculty, and current and former student-athletes.

Wagoner went on to say:

 “We set out on a national search to find the best possible leader, someone with the experience, intellect and vision to meet the challenges of the future and a sharp understanding of our commitment to excellence in academics and competition,”. He went further to state “The committee was enthusiastic about Nina’s candidacy, and I could not be more excited to see her at the helm of Duke Athletics.”

Nina King on being appointed director of athletics at Duke athletics. Sharing 

According to a recent interview from The Undefeated. They caught up with King about her current position and how she intends to change Duke’s already stellar program. The discussion also talked about how Nina King’s came to be and how it all led to an athletic director position. 

Nina King credited her time at Notre Dame as it was a pillar to her success, given how sports-oriented the place is. Inciting how the university’s program encourages newcomers to participate as a sports manager — undoubtedly enticed her to participate. She gave her insights on how interesting all the administrative work and process in facilitating sports teams, the tangibles involved in people operations, team rosters and cross-competition expenses caught her interest the most.

She attributed her savvy administrative skills to being an accounting major and soon applied them through numerous internship programs she took on after graduation. That time around is when she first met Kevin White and has worked for his office for six months. An opportunity to work with Nike, one of the world’s athletic sports corporations, further magnified her experience and as a staple name in the industry. Still, she has personally decided that it wasn’t for her and did not want to work on the corporate side of things. This eventually opened up the door for her to come back to Notre Dame, but she soon moved to Duke due to Kevin taking the AD job for the school. 

Years pass, King has now been announced as athletic director at Duke and spoke shortly shared her sentiment… 

“‘I hope that little girls and boys who look like me can aspire big, dream big and realize their dreams at some point in their careers. Representation matters. They need to see that folks that look like them lead the department.’

When asked about people who became role models and inspiration to where she is now, she credited many fellow ADs crossed paths and worked with—citing Kevin White the most as the main branch on where she learned the ropes. 

The interview discussed her day-to-day as AD with Duke has been, the sports landscape amidst COVID-19, her thoughts on college athletics’ promotions and endorsements as of today, and so much more. 


Nina King, backed with her numerous experience in the industry, proves to be more than able to excite the Blue Devils for years to come as she plans to implement her garnered skill to improve the overall landscape of Duke’s already thriving sports program.


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