2022 Men's Final Four Talks

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Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes

Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes is an award-winning sports executive in collegiate sports who leads and empowers athletic programs/organizations for growth, provides strategic consulting to national sports organizations and boards, and facilitates mentoring and leadership development opportunities for the next generation of women leaders in sports.

Since 2006, Dr. Barnes has served as athletic director at Dillard University where she simultaneously held the position of head coach of the women’s basketball team until March 2013. Throughout her tenure at Dillard, she has facilitated the return of the university’s athletic program, transformed the program into a national model of student-athlete success and community service, established new sports teams, and oversaw the founding of the university’s first endowed athletic scholarship.

A leader in sports administration, Dr. Barnes also serves as Interim Commissioner for the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Prior to the appointment, she was elected and served as President of the GCAC from 2009-2018, directing its growth after several universities departed for other conferences.

Dr. Barnes has further distinguished herself as an enterprising national expert, consultant, and mentor in the sports industry. She is President and CEO of Kiki Baker Barnes, LLC a coaching and speaking business that consults college athletic programs on operations, strategic planning and leadership development. Dr. Barnes is also the founder of So You Want A Career in Athletics™  a professional leadership development program designed to expose girls and young professional women to career opportunities in sport. Dr. Barnes also provides strategic leadership to national and local boards.

A trailblazer as well, Dr. Barnes is the only intercollegiate athletic director in the state of Louisiana. She was the first female and first African-American president of the GCAC and the first African-American female commissioner in the NAIA.

Her contributions to intercollegiate sports have received national recognition from entities like Sports Illustrated, Medium, HBCU Sports, and The Minnesota Spokesman Recorder. Dr. Barnes has also garnered the respect of sports colleagues throughout the nation. Among her notable accomplishments, she received: the Nike Nell Jackson Executive of the Year by Women Leaders in College Sports (2021); the Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year Award (2019); Women Leaders in College Sports Administrator of the Year Award (2015); and the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference’s Athletics Director of the Year awards (2011, 2014, 2015, and 2021). Dr. Barnes has also been recognized by the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, New Orleans City Business, and Girls Scouts of Louisiana Southeast for her leadership and commitment to developing the next generation of leaders in sports.

With personal and professional dedication to higher education, Dr. Barnes earned her undergraduate degree in communications from University of New Orleans, a  master’s in communications from University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and doctorate in higher education administration from University of New Orleans. Dr. Barnes is also a certified John Maxwell speaker and trainer.

As  community servant, she gives back to other through various local and national community affiliations.

Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes is proud native of Minden, Louisiana, and resides in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is married to Dr. Marc Barnes, and they have two children, Caitlin and Marc Jr. Learn more at KikiBakerBarnes.com.