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Duke AD Kevin White Stepping Down

After doing a remarkable job for Duke for 13 years

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Notre Dame
Jan 30, 2017; South Bend, IN, USA; Duke Blue Devils athletics director Kevin White chats before the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Purcell Pavilion. 
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

In a surprise move, Duke A.D. Kevin White announced Thursday that he would step down this summer.

Widely seen as one of the best athletics directors in the country, White had these comments about his impending departure: “This unequivocally represents the most difficult professional decision that I have ever made. As I look forward to completing my 47th year in higher education, including teaching, coaching, and administration, it is simply the right time to step aside and provide a distinct opportunity for both new and different voices, and a more contemporary vision.”

Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski offered this: “I have absolutely loved working with Kevin the past 13 years. He’s made Duke Basketball and me better. He’s made Duke Athletics and Duke University better. He’s made all of intercollegiate athletics better for 47 years. No one in college athletics has mentored as many people as Kevin White. Simply put, he is the very best in the business. While I will miss working day-to-day with Kevin immensely, my family and I are so thankful for the amazing friendship and strong partnership we’ve enjoyed with both Kevin and Jane.”

It’s a big deal. White is immensely respected, as these comments and more over at indicate. He’s a good man who’s done an amazing job and we wish him well in retirement.

The obvious question now is: who’s next?

College sports are changing dramatically, as White alluded to when he said “it is simply the right time to step aside and provide a distinct opportunity for both new and different voices, and a more contemporary vision.”

Duke is launching a nationwide search obviously but one name that seems destined to come up is that of Stan Wilcox.

Wilcox, a protegé of White’s who graduated from Notre Dame and worked there before moving to Duke where he was an assistant AD, and Florida State, where he was the AD, before moving to a position with the NCAA. He may be on a different career track now and not interested in being an AD anymore.

It’s also possible that Duke opts to keep it in the family and hires Central Florida’s Danny White. Well regarded like his father, White has done a terrific job at UCF, not least of all with football which is more or less a requirement now.

And it’s also possible that Duke could try to bring Mike Cragg back to Durham.

Now the St. John’s AD, Cragg knows Duke inside and out and could step in without missing a beat.

Also well-regarded: ACC official Amy Yakola. She’s currently Chief of External Affairs for the conference and a Clemson grad so she certainly knows the lay of the land.

Whoever it is, he or she will have a big job. Aside from the structural changes in college sports, the next AD will almost certainly have to replace Mike Krzyzewski and David Cutcliffe.