Nina King headshot with Duke stone in the background

Nina King

Nina King made Duke history in 2021 when she was promoted to vice president and athletic director. She became the first woman at Duke to serve in that position, and the third Black woman to ever hold the job at a Power Five school.

She came to Duke in 2008 and ran the day-to-day operations of the athletics department as then-athletic director Kevin White’s chief of staff and the in-house counsel for the Blue Devils. When White retired, he urged her to go for his position.

“When Vince Price offered her the role, I was euphoric. This was a great best-case scenario for Duke University, Duke Athletics and, quite frankly, college athletics.,” White said at the time.

In the last two years, King has faced a few challenges: Filling the shoes of Duke’s legendary basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, aka Coach K, and Mike Elko, who left Duke at the end of 2023 to return to Texas A&M.

With 27 teams and hundreds of student-athletes in her charge, King has her hands full. Yet, she finds the time to visit practices, attend home games and teach a sports business class at Fuqua. Oh yeah, and she’s the mother of two boys.

“Every day is different,” she said in a 2022 interview.

Although she holds a law degree from Tulane, King’s interest in sports dates to her days at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned her undergraduate degree.

While never a student-athlete herself, King learned to appreciate sports when she was head manager for the women’s swimming and diving program at Notre Dame.

“It sparked in me a passion, and here I am now, just a few years later, working in sport,” she said in 2023, “and I wouldn’t trade this career for any in the world.”