He may not be the household name that his rock star men’s basketball coach is, but in college athletic circles you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone with more cache or power than Dr. Kevin White, who serves as Vice President and Director of Athletics at Duke University.Aside from his own personal successes, or those of the teams he oversees at the Durham, N.C., campus, White’s influence on the administration tree defies description. Perhaps no greater measure of a man is the positive impact he can have on others. If so, that total of 23 current or former athletic directors he mentored speaks volumes.
Hearing that and recognizing so much more that White has brought to the table, it is no wonder that the United States Sports Academy has determined him to be its 2015 Carl Maddox Sport Management Award winner.
Named in honor of the former Athletic Director at Louisiana State University and Mississippi State University, and Academy Board of Trustees member, the award is given annually to an individual for his/her contributions to the growth and development of sport enterprise through effective management practices. The individual should exhibit mastery of all the management functions, be well known in the sport arena, and have an abiding belief in the need for ethical behavior in sport management.
No stranger to being recognized for his contributions, having received multiple awards at the national and regional levels, White has been an administrative dynamo for more than three decades. In addition to Duke, where he arrived in 2008, White has served as athletic director at the University of Notre Dame, Arizona State University, Tulane University, the University of Maine and Loras College. He has served on numerous NCAA committees and held many prominent roles, including president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and president of the Division I-A Athletic Directors Association.
White, who received an honorary doctorate from the Academy in 2006, also served on the steering committee for the Chicago bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games, and was just recently named to the United States Olympic Committee board of directors.
A career educator who holds a Ph.D. in education from Southern Illinois University, White continues to teach a sport business course in Duke’s Fuqua School of Business as part of Duke’s MBA program. While at the school, he has geared programs to aide Duke’s community outreach and its academic mission, highlighted by a ticket proceeds-fueled library fund that supports teaching and research across the institution.
Since White has been there, Duke annually ranks among the top schools in Graduation Success Rate and Academic Performance Rate. The performance by its athletic programs hasn’t been too shabby either. The Blue Devils men’s basketball team won its fifth national championship in April, and the Duke football team is coming off three straight bowl seasons, not to mention 10- and 9-win campaigns in 2013 and 2014. Keep in mind that program had three winless seasons since 2000 before White arrived.
With White at Duke’s athletics helm, seven Duke teams have won national titles. Among them are men’s lacrosse (2010, 2013, 2014), men’s basketball (2010, 2015), women’s golf (2014) and women’s tennis (2009).
Labeled “The Godfather in College Athletics” in admiring fashion by some in the profession, White is routinely contacted for advice or recommendations by college presidents on whom to hire for their athletic direction positions. Prominent protégés include Stan Wilcox at Florida State and Sandy Barbour at Penn State, who, along with others, were in attendance at the last John L. Toner Award ceremony to see White receive the honor for excellence in athletic administration. In addition to receiving the Toner Award from the National Football Foundation, White was honored as the Athletic Director of the Year in 2014 by both the Bobby Dodd Foundation and Sports Business Journal.
His influence runs even deeper than that, as all five of his children have chosen vocational paths in either the sports or education industries. Sons Danny, Mike and Brian are, respectively, the AD at the University of Buffalo, the Louisiana Tech men’s basketball coach and Army’s associate AD for development. Daughters Mariah and Maureen are, respectively, studying law at Tulane and teaching high school English in Arizona. White and his wife, Jane, a former college track and field coach, have 10 grandchildren.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission Sports University created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy visit www.ussa.edu.