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Coach-Turned-Athletic Director Rebuilds Athletic Program From Scratch

After Hurricane Katrina devastated its athletic program, Dillard University turned to Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes to rebuild it.

When Hurricane Katrina forced Dillard University to eliminate its entire sports program, the administration at the New Orleans school knew they’d eventually need someone to resurrect it. 

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That someone turned out to be Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes. Barnes, who had been an assistant basketball coach at the school, promptly rolled up her sleeves and brought the athletic department back to life.

“I’ve learned that whatever I can envision in my mind is possible,” she told Authority Magazine Therefore, it’s my responsibility to share that vision with others for the purpose of motivating  them to work collaboratively to see it realized.”

Barnes raised money to help improve the facilities and added several teams to the athletic program. The former basketball and track athlete at the University of New Orleans didn’t have a big budget to work with, but used her formidable work ethic to get things done.

“You have to work as if you’re getting paid a million dollars, even if you’re only getting paid $.15,”she told the New Orleans Minority Report in 2012.

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Barnes also founded “So You Want A Career In Athletics,” which exposes young girls to careers in the sports field and she’s hosted several of the events in partnership with the New Orleans  Pelicans.

“I am championing the next generation of women and girls in sport by being excellent in my role as a top administrator in the industry and being accessible through mentoring opportunities,” she told Women Leaders In College Sports. “I make it my business to be as responsive as possible when young ladies and men reach out to me with questions about how to navigate this profession.”

Her advice to young women who are striving for excellence is simple and direct.

”Fear no one but God, have a positive attitude and be excellent in everything you do,” she told theMinden Press-Herald.

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