PEMBROKE — Dan Kenney, the athletic director at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke for 14 years, will assume the position of chief of staff in the Office of the Chancellor on Nov. 1.
Chancellor Kyle R. Carter made the announcement Wednesday following a vote of approval from the university’s board of trustees. Carter said Kenney is the right choice to fill a key position on this staff.
“Mr. Kenney has earned the respect of both the internal and external communities,” Carter said. “His integrity, knowledge of the organization, leadership and management skills make him the ideal pick for chief of staff. Dan has the capacity to make the university better, which has become my primary criterion for hiring. I look forward to working with Dan in this new capacity.”
Kenney has served as athletic director since 1998 and is a member of the Chancellor’s Cabinet. For 15 years, he guided UNCP’s athletic teams on the playing fields and in the classroom. Kenney also served as assistant basketball coach from 1977 to 1980 and head basketball coach at the university from 1985 to 1992.
An interim athletic director will be named prior to Nov. 1, and a national search for a new athletic director will be launched when a search committee is appointed by Carter. During the transition, Kenney will not be far from the English E. Jones Center and will be available to assist as needed.
Kenney said his new role at UNCP came about after several conversations with Carter and some soul searching about a career change.
“First of all, I am blessed to have spent 38 years in collegiate athletics,” he said. “My role then and going forward is to help teams and groups of people work together and achieve goals.
“The university is embarking on an exciting new chapter in its history, and I want to help the chancellor and his senior leadership team accomplish the goal of becoming an institution of choice. I am excited about the focus on student success and outreach to our constituent communities.”
Kenney believes the time is right for a career change.
“I want to do something different in my career, and this opportunity allows me to remain at a place I love and owe a great deal of gratitude to. I have a new role but am still part of a great university,” he said.
Kenney coached at the NCAA Division I level as head coach at Winthrop and posted a record of 124-78 as UNC Pembroke’s men’s basketball coach. His 1990-91 UNCP team still holds the school record for most wins in a season, going 27-5.
Since 2010, nine UNCP sports have advanced to the NCAA Championships a total of 12 times, and numerous individuals have competed for national titles, including 2012 national champion wrestler Mike Williams.
From a list of accomplishments, Kenney points to two highlights from his 15 years as athletic director.
“One of things I am proudest of is winning the President’s Cup in two of the last three years for our student-athletes having the highest accumulative GPA in the conference,” he said. “Another highlight was starting three new sports — women’s soccer, golf and football — and having all three go to the NCAA tournament within seven years.”