NEW ORLEANS – Women Leaders in College Sports has named Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes, athletics director of Dillard University, the 2021 Nell Jackson Nike Executive of the Year. Formerly known as the Administrator of the Year award, the Nell Jackson Nike Executive of the Year awardee is determined by peer nominations and selected by the Women Leaders Awards Committee for their service during the 2020-2021 academic year.
“It is an honor to recognize and celebrate this group of exemplary women, including emerging leaders, seasoned executives, and industry front runners,” Patti Phillips, chief executive officer of Women Leaders in College Sports said in a statement. “These women represent exceptional leadership and are highly deserving of their awards.
“My work and passion in college sports center on mobilizing teams as well as mentoring and motivating the next generation of athletes and leaders in sports,” Barnes shared about her achievement. “I am deeply humbled in knowing that my colleagues value this commitment and am sincerely grateful to receive such an amazing honor.”
Barnes is the only intercollegiate athletic director in Louisiana and was the first female and first African-American president of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference. Earlier this year, Barnes was named 2021 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference’s (GCAC) Athletic Director of the Year. It is the fourth time that she has been voted by her peers as the Athletic Director of the Year in the GCAC following previously being named in 2010-11, 2013-14 and 2014-15. “Dr. Barnes has truly been a blessing to Dillard University and we all knew that. But over the past year she has stabilized the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference, earning commendation and praise from my presidential colleagues,” Dr. Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University shared. “She is an excellent recipient of this award.”
Barnes also has served as interim commissioner of the GCAC since 2019. She was named the 2019 Under Armor Athletic Director of the Year for the National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA). Barnes also launched the So You Want a Career in Athletics(™) initiative for girls and young professional women in sports on Dillard’s campus.
Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA) was founded in 1979 and is the only nationally recognized collegiate professional membership organization. Its mission is to develop, connect and advance women leaders working in intercollegiate athletics. With over 3,800 members, Women Leaders promotes the growth, leadership, and success of female athletics administrators, conference commissioners, professional staff, coaches, and student-athletes. For more information about Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes, please visit Dillard University’s athletics website or Women Leadership in College Sports site.