Kiki Baker Barnes makes Black History

We are starting off Black History Month with an interview with Dillard University’s Kiki Baker Barnes.

KBB AD Headshot 2013

1. Congratulations on being named President of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC). You’re the first African-American “Female” to be given the title. How does it feel to be a history maker? Thank you. I didn’t set out to make history. My goal has always been to work really hard and be excellent in the process; as a result, I have received accolades such as this one. I am very competitive and I desire to be the best at what I do. I have learned over the years that success comes through sacrifice, hard work and faith.

 2. What challenges have you faced being the Athletic Director of Dillard as a woman? As a female in a male dominated profession, my initial challenge was just earning the respect of my colleagues. In my very first GCAC conference meeting, I was asked to take the minutes because I was the youngest athletic director and the only female athletic director in the room. I was not offended by this, but I did make a decision to prove that I could do more than just take minutes.  During my second and third year as athletic director, I was named to two national committees of our national governing organization, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The first was the NAIA Committee on Conduct in Competition and the second was the NAIA -National Administrative Council (NAC) in which I was one of only two African-Americans named to the council. During that time, the recovery of our conference members’ athletic programs was slower than expected due to Hurricane Katrina. I advocated on behalf of our conference for an extension that would allow us to continue to remain a member of the NAIA and operate as a conference while we were still under the required sport minimums for membership. My success in getting the NAC to grant us this extension earned the respect of my colleagues. The following year, I was voted as the first female President of the GCAC by the same colleagues who asked me to take minutes.
 As a female in a male dominated profession, my initial challenge was just earning the respect of my colleagues.

3. Have you seen a decline in college women of color participating in sports? What sport tends to attracts most young women at Dillard University?  In 2012, I was a panelist for a National Association of Black Journalist (NABJ) Convention session called “A Brand New Game: 40 Years Since Title IX” and we had a discussion on how Title IX has impacted females in sport. According to a longitudinal study conducted by Vivian and Acosta that examines the progress of women in intercollegiate sport, female sport participation has increased to more than 200,000, which is the highest ever since the enactment of Title IX.  Similarly, a New York Times article reported that sport participation for women of color (African-American) has also increased; however, they are still underrepresented in every sport except Division I basketball (50.6%), indoor track & field (28.2%) and outdoor track and field (27.5%). When looking at popularity, women’s basketball is the most popular intercollegiate sport (98.9%) in terms of sponsorship by an institution across time, followed by volleyball (96.3%). This is also the same for Dillard. Dillard’s most popular sport is women’s basketball, followed by women’s volleyball, and cross country/track.

The real issue is the decline in female head coaches and administrators since Title IX.  In 1972, women held over 90 percent of the head coaching job positions for women sports teams.  Today, 42.9 percent of all women’s teams are led by female coaches versus 57.1 percent led by male coaches of women’s teams. The numbers continue to decline when you begin looking at females in athletic administration.  Female athletic directors represent 20.3% of athletics directors versus 79.7% of male athletics directors. The percentage of athletic directors who are women of color is even lower at approximately 4.7%.


 Acosta, R. V., & Carpenter, L. J. (2012). Women in intercollegiate sport: A longitudicnal, national study thirty-five year update 1977-2012. Retrieved

Rhoden, W. C. (2012). Black and white women far from equal under Title IX.  Retrieved from

Lapchick, R., Agusta, R., Kinkopf, N. & McPhee. The 2012 racial and gender report card: College Sport. Retrieved from:

4. What do you think is the biggest myth about HBCU sports? 

 The greatest myth about HBCU sports is that we are all the same.

5. You’re the Head Women’s Basketball Coach for the Dillard University Lady Bleu Devils, do you still have dreams of playing in the WNBA? I am actually no longer the Head Women’s basketball coach. However, I did tryout for the WNBA’s Houston Comets during the inaugural season, in 1997. I was cut in the second round of training camp.
Do you think New Orleans could support a WNBA team? The current level of support for the Pelicans doesn’t suggest that a third professional sports team would viable at this point.

 6. What female athletes inspired you as a young girl? I was first inspired in 1988 by Florence Griffith-Joyner (Flo-Jo). I was in the 8th grade at that time and had dreams of being a track star. I was most inspired by her glamorous style and grace during competition.  Sheryl Swoopes was my second inspiration. She wore the same jersey number (#22) I wore in 1993 and we both led our teams to the finals that year (although she won and we lost). I was so inspired by her, that I chose to continue my basketball career at South Plains College, the same junior college that she attended. Since a professional basketball league did not exist in the United States during that time, college basketball was the closest option.

7. How do you balance your career and family life? I’m not really sure if balance exists. What I have is a very supportive husband and family who are very unselfish and understand that my call to leadership requires significant commitment. As a result, they make many sacrifices to ensure that I am able to serve those in which my position requires.

8. Advice or words you live by – Romans 8:28 All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and called according to his purpose.


2 thoughts on “Kiki Baker Barnes makes Black History

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