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DURHAM, N.C. - Kevin White, the director of athletics at the University of Notre Dame since 2001, will become Duke University's vice president and director of athletics, President Richard H. Brodhead announced Saturday. The appointment is subject to approval of the university's board of trustees.
"Kevin White is in the first rank of athletics directors nationally and will make a perfect fit for Duke," Brodhead said. "He has led coaches and players to the highest levels of athletic attainment while always remembering the larger goals of education. He is a superb communicator and a famous developer of the talent of others. He knows the business of intercollegiate athletics. And the quality of experience of student athletes is his highest priority. He is a passionate, inspiring leader. I am delighted to welcome him to Duke."
White succeeds Joe Alleva, who resigned in April to accept the athletics director position at LSU.
White, 57, has led Notre Dame's athletics program to success both on the playing fields and in the classroom, He also has held a number of prominent national leadership roles within intercollegiate athletics, including his service in 2006-07 as president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and in 2005-06 as president of the Division I-A Athletic Directors Association.
His appointment follows a year-long strategic planning process for Duke Athletics.
"Simply stated, I am thrilled to be coming to Duke University," said White. "I have the highest regard for this institution and am excited about the opportunities in front of us. I look forward to building great relationships with President Brodhead and the University leadership, the faculty, our student-athletes, coaches and staff, and the wider Durham community."
Roy Bostock, a Duke alumnus and former trustee, chaired the 12-person search committee that carried out a national search for candidates and unanimously recommended White to Brodhead.
In his charge to the search committee, Brodhead had outlined a number of qualities he wanted the director of athletics to possess, including a commitment to "Duke's special tradition of athletic and academic excellence." Duke teams have won five national championships since 2000 and the university regularly is among the nation's leaders in overall athletic and academic performance. Duke's graduation rates for its student-athletes have ranked among the best in the nation, with its most recent Federal Graduation Rate at 91 percent.
Duke has been the top-ranked Division I school in the nation each of the last three years in the National Collegiate Scouting Association Power Rankings, which combine a school's Directors' Cup finish, athletic graduation rates and academic ranking in U.S. News and World Report. The Blue Devils also have finished among the top dozen schools and among the top five private universities in the last three Division I Directors' Cup, which rates athletics departments nationwide based on the performance of its teams.
In May, Duke's Board of Trustees approved the school's first Strategic Plan for Athletics, a broad vision for bolstering the experience and development of Duke's student-athletes while enhancing recreational opportunities for members of the entire university community. The plan calls for significant facilities development, strengthening of athletic scholarships and expanded programs for both intercollegiate teams and student recreation. It anticipates considerable resource development to ensure that Duke maintains and enhances its national leadership in both athletics and academics. The plan is available at: http://news.duke.edu/reports/athleticsstrategyfinal.pdf.
Notre Dame traditionally has been a leader in the priority areas identified in Duke's plan. During White's eight years at Notre Dame, the Irish claimed four national championships - women's basketball (2001); fencing (2003 and 2005) and women's soccer (2004).
On the academic front, all of Notre Dame's 26 athletic programs achieved at least a 3.0 grade-point average in 2005-06, the first time this occurred in school history. The university received a 2002 USA Today/NCAA Academic Achievement Award for graduating 90 percent of its student-athletes within a certain time frame, and also received the 2003 award for highest overall student-athlete graduation rate (92 percent).
White added a number of varsity scholarships and commissioned a facilities master plan that has guided Notre Dame's subsequent upgrading or opening of several athletics facilities. He also administered a comprehensive intramural, club sport and campus recreation program, with 95 percent of the student body participating. Sports Illustrated On Campus rated the Irish intramural program tops in the nation in 2004.
White, who holds a Ph.D. in education, has taught graduate-level classes since 1982 and currently teaches a sports business course in the management department of the Mendoza College of Business as part of Notre Dame's MBA program.
In August 2003, SI.com (the Sports Illustrated web site) listed White third in its rankings of the most powerful people in college football. In January 2004, The Sporting News listed him in its Power 100 as third among five names in the "front office" category (and the lone college athletics director among the 100).
White currently is a representative with the football Bowl Championship Series. He previously served on numerous NCAA committees, including the NCAA Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics (COIA) that deals with academics, fiscal reform and student-athlete well-being. He also was an ex-officio member of the NCAA Committee on Academic Performance and a member of its Penalty and Rewards subcommittee.
Prior to joining Notre Dame in 2000, White served as athletic director at Arizona State University, Tulane University, the University of Maine and Loras College in Iowa, where he originated the National Catholic Basketball Tournament.
Before becoming an administrator, White served as head track and field coach at Southeast Missouri State (1981-82) and assistant cross country and track and field coach at Central Michigan (1976-80). He began his coaching career at Gulf High School in New Port Richey, Fla., coaching cross country and track and assisting in football and wrestling.
White earned his Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University in 1983 with an emphasis on higher education administration. In 1985, he completed postdoctoral work at Harvard University's Institute for Educational Management. He earned his master's degree in athletics administration from Central Michigan University in 1976 and his bachelor's degree in business administration in 1972 from St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Ind., where he also competed as a sprinter.
White and his wife, Jane, a former college track and field coach who is now an instructor with Notre Dame's physical education department, have five children.