NEW ORLEANS — Kiki Baker Barnes, Dillard University's athletic director and head women's basketball coach, was voted Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) Athletic Director of the Year by her peers at the conference's spring 2011 meeting in Kansas City, Mo. The award is given annually to the athletic director who best demonstrates dedication, outstanding work, and commitment to excellence.
"I am honored and humbled," said Barnes, who serves as the GCAC conference president. "When your peers recognize you're doing a good job, it feels great."
Despite the many challenges created by Hurricane Katrina, Barnes quickly restored success to the Dillard Bleu Devils. When Barnes became Dillard's athletic director in September 2006, she began constructing a department that encompasses the five core values of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Champions of Character program: respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership and sportsmanship. Simultaneously, she recruited, coached and mentored student athletes with the goal of winning conference championships.
As GCAC president, Barnes was also charged with revamping the conference after half its members departed, threatening the conference's existence. "Kiki just has the capabilities to manage many projects and jobs, and she does a great job at it," said Anthony Owens, athletic director at Fisk University. "There was no one else in this conference more deserving of this award than Kiki. She just has done an overwhelmingly great job."
This year, Dillard produced three NAIA Daktronics All-American Scholar-Athletes and 23 dean's list scholar-athletes, and earned its first athletic championships since Hurricane Katrina.
Last fall, the Lady Bleu Devil Volleyball team won the GCAC volleyball championship, and last month, the men's outdoor track and field team celebrated a GCAC tournament championship.
Barnes has also restored Dillard's cheer team, reinstituted the annual athletic awards ceremony, launched the school's first comprehensive athletics website, established the Billy Ray Hobley Athletic Scholarship Gala, added four new sports to the department, and overseen an enhancement of the Dent Hall gymnasium, now affectionately known as the "The Battlefield."
"It's been an awesome experience rebuilding our athletic program," said Barnes. "I want to see all our programs win a conference championship and be more active in the community."