Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes: commissioner of Gulf Coast Athletic Conference

by Mike Creef, Staff Writer
Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes: commissioner of Gulf Coast Athletic Conference
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Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes, the former Athletic Director at Dillard University, has been appointed the new Commissioner of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC).

Barnes has spent the last 16 years as the athletic director at Dillard University where she 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.

During this time, she served as the only intercollegiate female athletic director in the state of Louisiana.

In 2019, Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes was appointed the interim commissioner of the GCAC by the GCAC Council of Presidents while also still serving as the athletic director Dillard University.

The GCAC was founded in 1981, and competes in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). It’s a league made up entirely of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) from Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. 

“I am honored to have earned the trust and confidence of my colleagues for the purpose of leading the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference into the future,” Barnes said. “My commitment is to bring creative vision, excellence, direction, and strong partnerships that will advance the conference and the competitive landscape for our student-athletes. As I embrace this new opportunity, I am especially grateful to my colleagues, staff, and student-athletes at Dillard University for our collective work in rising from adversity to winning championships and becoming a national model of student-athlete success.”

A long list of accomplishments for Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes

Among her many accomplishments while at Dillard include being named the GCAC Athletic Director of the Year four times in her career – including in 2021. She was named the 2021 Women Leader in College Sports Nell Jackson Nike Executive of the Year, and the 2019 Under Armor Athletic Director of the Year (National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA).

Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes was named the 2018 New Orleans City Business Woman of the Year, the 2018 New Orleans Pelicans Black History Month Honoree, and the 2017 American Cancer Society Belle.

In 2015, she was named Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly known as NACWAA) Administrator of the Year, and she was named the 2014 Girl Scout Woman of Distinction Honoree.

Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes was named as a New Orleans Magazine People to Watch Class of 2014,  and selected to the Gambit’s Top 40 under 40 New Orleanians making a positive impact on their community. She’s been named one of six Women of Empowerment by New Orleans Minority Report in 2012-2013, and selected to the 2008 Black Coaches and Administrators “Achieving Coaching Excellence (ACE)” program. Just to name a few.

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