By Aysha Chaudhry
While the name Kiki Barnes isn’t a household name just yet, she is well on her way to becoming one. As the only black female Athletic Director in the entire state of Louisiana, a Deep South state where sports are a lifeblood, Barnes is creating paths for many women to follow. She currently holds the position at Dillard University, a historically black liberal arts college in New Orleans.
Earlier this year, she was named Athletic Director of the Year by Under Armour, an award reserved for those who make an impact on both their peers and their students. She was also named as interim commissioner of The Gulf Coast Athletic Conference as the council searches for the third commissioner in the league’s history.
Barnes’s position in sports history almost didn’t happen. She originally wanted to work in communications, and didn’t think she would work in sports because all the athletic directors she saw were men. Now, she’s changing the narrative for future women in sports to look up to. And being at an HBCU increases that ten times over, with visibility to numerous young black women.