PEMBROKE — Dan Kenney will retire from his position at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke at the end of the month.
After 43 years of service in higher education, including 30 at UNCP, Kenney will be honored at a retirement celebration set for Thursday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the university center annex.
The event is open to the public, and, in lieu of gifts, UNCP encourages a contribution to Kenney Family Endowed Scholarship.
Following his graduation from East Carolina, Kenney served the first of three stops at UNCP as a men’s basketball assistant coach from 1977 to 1980, and then underwent a stint at Western Carolina as both men’s basketball assistant coach and cross country head coach.
He returned to UNCP in 1985, this time as men’s basketball head coach — a position he served in for seven seasons. He coached the men’s basketball team at Winthrop from 1992 to 1998, before returning to Pembroke once again, this time as the schools athletics director from 1998 to 2013.
Kenney has served on several NCAA committees, including but not limited to the NCAA Legislation Committee, the NCAA Management Council, the NCAA Nominating Committee and the NCAA Infraction Appeals Committee.
An educator at heart, UNCP student-athletes earned presidential honor roll honors from the league more than 1,100 times under his watch, while also capturing four PBC Student-Athlete of the Year laurels. A total of 37 Braves earned national academic honors under the leadership of Kenney, with another 25 being named to academic all-district or all-region squads.
Following the 2010-11 academic year, UNCP became just the second league institution to win back-to-back PBC President’s Academic Award accolades – an award which recognizes excellence in academics with respect to an institution’s entire student body. He served as a professor in UNC Pembroke Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department over the course of all three stops in Pembroke, including every year of his tenure as athletics director. All told, Mr. Kenney has served as a professor at UNCP for 25 years.
During his tenure as athletics director, UNCP expanded its varsity athletic program to include three more sports. The women’s soccer team began play in the 2001 season, women’s golf teed off for the first time during the 2006-07 campaign and football made its return to southeastern North Carolina on Sept. 1, 2007. He was also at the forefront of a major fundraising movement to build support for Braves athletics. He was named the NACDA Southeast Region Athletics Director of the Year in 2006 and is the namesake for the department’s Coach of the Year award and an endowed scholarship.
UNC Pembroke experienced a “Golden Era” of athletic competition under Kenney’s watch — one that inevitably resulted in the school’s highest ranking (61) in the Learfield Sports Directors Cup standings following the 2010-11 athletic season. UNCP’s athletic teams qualified for the NCAA postseason on 21 occasions, while being represented 50 times by individual qualifiers under Kenney’s watch.
Eight coaches earned PBC Coach of the Year honors, while two were decorated with region coach of the year accolades, during Kenney’s tenure as athletics director. In 2008, the softball staff earned region coaching staff of the year accolades from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.
Kenney currently serves as the Chief of Staff in the Chancellor’s Office at UNCP and continues to have a presence as an educator in the classroom.