DURHAM, NC – Duke University promoted Tampa native Nina King to director of athletics in mid-May. King, a Gaither High School graduate, has been working in the department since 2008. She is the sixth woman and third woman of color to lead a Power 5 department. Now she wants to use her role to inspire other women and minorities to follow her. example.
“I hope that little girls and boys who look like me can aspire big, dream big and achieve their dreams at some point in their careers,” King said via video chat. “Representation matters. They need to see people like them running the department.
King said it is important that people are not hired because they are women and / or minorities. The only way to prepare people for success is to hire them because they are qualified.
“I don’t want anything to be symbolic. I worked hard. I have an accounting degree. I have a law degree. I have spent my career in sports,” King said. “I’m just a woman and a person of color.”
King has already had a busy summer. Aside from the Blue Devils playoffs, men’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski has announced he will be retiring after the upcoming season.
“I probably shouldn’t be saying my reaction on TV,” King joked. “He won the right to tell us when he was ready to retire. But this year it’s going to be awesome. We’re going to be able to celebrate Coach K and his legacy, and everything he’s done for not just that. ‘Duke University, but for college basketball and for sport in our world. “
King, 42, is still a huge Buccaneers fan. She said it was nice to see former Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell win a Super Bowl ring with his hometown team. She also encourages the Lightning, which is owned by Jeff Vinik, a Duke alumnus.