"Live my life in a manner that inspires others to use their power to unlock the potential within."
Dr. Kiki Baker Barnes has distinguished herself as an outstanding professional, community servant and mentor. She assumed the leadership role, athletic director, in Dillard’s athletic department in 2006. She simultaneously held the position of head coach of the women’s basketball team until March 2013. Her initial responsibility was to facilitate the return of the athletics program after it was shuttered following Hurricane Katrina. She has not only resurrected the program, but she has also grown the program into a national model of student-athlete success and community service. Since taking the helm, Dillard’s athletic program has seen the establishment of new sports teams and the university's first endowed athletic scholarship.
A leader in sports administration, she was recently named Interim Commissioner for the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). This is not her first stint with the GCAC as 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 become a national expert in strategic planning, organizational management and program revitalization leading her to accept positions as a member of several organizations such as the National Administrative Council of the NAIA, the NAIA Athletic Directors Association Board of Directors and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Board of Directors. She currently serves as Chair of the (NAIA) Conduct and Ethics committee and will serve as President of the NAIA Athletic Directors Association Board of Directors for the 2019-2020 year. She is President/CEO of Kiki Baker Barnes, LLC, a coaching and speaking business focused on helping others unlock their potential and founder of So You Want A Career in Athletics™ a professional leadership development program designed to expose girls ages 13-18 to career opportunities in sport.
A trailblazer as well, Dr. Barnes is the only intercollegiate athletic director in the state of Louisiana and was the first female and first African-American president of the GCAC. On June 11, 2019, Dr. Barnes was awarded the industry's highest award, the Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year Award. In 2015, Dr. Barnes received the prestigious "Administrator of the Year Award" presented by the Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly known as National Association of College Women Athletic Administrators - NACWAA). In 2011, 2014 and 2015, her peers voted her GCAC Athletic Director of the Year. In 2018, the New Orleans Pelicans honored her for her work in the community. She was most recently named to New Orleans CityBusiness Woman of the Year class of 2018, “People to Watch Class of 2014” and was honored by the Girls Scouts of Louisiana Southeast as a 2014 Woman of Distinction. Dr. Barnes also received the Gambit’s Top 40 under 40 of New Orleanians making a difference in the community in 2013. Dr. Barnes was featured as one of 6 women of empowerment in the 2012 Minority Report in New Orleans.
Barnes completed her dissertation research on the relationship between coach’s influence, student engagement, and student-athlete success. She is married to Marc Barnes and they have two children, Caitlin and Marc Jr.
Awards and Honors
Ph.D., Higher Education Administration ▪ University of New Orleans – New Orleans, LA
M.S., Communications ▪ University of Louisiana at Lafayette – Lafayette, LA
B.G.S., Communications ▪ University of New Orleans – New Orleans, LA