Ben Cohen

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Brodhead Sees Potential For Athletics Growth

In May, President Richard Brodhead traveled to New York City, where he was to meet Kevin White, then the athletic director at the University of Notre Dame. White’s name was the biggest in the business and Duke was intent on hiring someone of his caliber.

After all, the field of athletics had provided some of Brodhead’s toughest challenges in his nearly five years in the Allen Building.

Mike Krzyzewski threatened to leave for the NBA on Brodhead’s first day on the job. He watched the football program go 2-33 in the previous three seasons. And the scandal involving the lacrosse team tested him on a national stage in 2006.

So Brodhead flew to meet in private with White. The only problem: Brodhead had no idea what White looked like.

“I’m walking up to this door, and there’s this person, and I looked at him. And I thought, ‘My God, that’s Kevin White. And my next thought was, and he’s going to be the next athletic director at Duke,'” Brodhead said. “And then we went upstairs. We talked for hours. Hours and hours and hours.”

Less than a week later, White was introduced as the school’s athletic director and vice president, a title which former athletic director Joe Alleva never held. The move gave athletics an official seat at senior leadership and policymaking meetings. Brodhead and White talk every day, recognizing the importance of a close relationship between president and athletic director, especially at Duke, where a high-powered athletic program distinguishes the University from other top-10 academic institutions.

>>ONLINE

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