UNC Pembroke Chancellor Kyle Carter has announced that Dan Kenney will assume the position of Chief of Staff in the Office of the Chancellor on November 1.
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 to success on the playing fields and in the classroom. Kenney also served as assistant basketball coach from 1977-1980 and head basketball coach 1985-92 at the university.
Chancellor Kyle R. Carter made the announcement Wednesday following a vote of approval from the university’s Board of Trustees. Dr. 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,” Chancellor 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.”
An interim athletic director will be named prior to November 1, and a national search for a new athletic director will be launched when a search committee is appointed by Chancellor Carter. During the transition, Kenney will not be far from the Jones Athletic Center and will be available to assist as needed.
Kenney said his new role at UNCP came about after several conversations with Chancellor 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,” he continued. “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 has been a winner as a coach and athletic director. He coached at the NCAA Division I level as head coach at Winthrop University and posted a record of 124-78 as UNC Pembroke’s men’s basketball coach. His 1990-91 Pembroke team still holds the school record for most wins in a season going 27-5.
Braves athletics are experiencing a renaissance in virtually every sport. UNCP teams are contenders for Peach Belt Conference championships and earning invitations to NCAA tournaments. Since 2010, nine UNCP sports have advanced to the NCAA, 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 and golf and football – and having all three go to the NCAA tournament within seven years.”
Although Kenney said he has no regrets, he will remain the Braves biggest fan.
“I’m looking forward to watching games from a new perspective as the Braves biggest supporter,” he said. “I will miss the daily interaction with the student, coaches and staff from the role of athletic director.”
Kenney said the Office of the Chancellor is staffed with individuals who are very competent and are dedicated to the success of the office and the university.
“I look forward to working with the Chancellor’s Office and the Cabinet,” he said. “I am looking forward to helping the Chancellor’s Office provide a great experience to anyone who interacts with our team.”
Some of Kenney’s career highlights include being named national Athletic Director of the Year for the NCAA’s Division II in 2006. Locally, he was named the Spirit of Unity Award winner at the 2010 Business Visions Awards Banquet.
Kenney is accomplished at the development side of athletics as well. He helped lead the $4.5 million First and Ten Campaign that was the most successful campaign in university history. During his tenure, endowed athletic scholarships increased from seven to 23.
The veteran athletic director also served on numerous NCAA and university committees. He is a member of Kiwanis of Robeson/Lumberton Club and the Robeson Roadrunners and helped that organization start two very successful road races and festivals, the Rumba on the Lumber and the Chevy to the Levee. He has also served on the board of Community in Schools and Lumberton Area Chamber of Commerce.
Besides his administrative and coaching duties, Kenney served as a lecturer in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. An East Carolina University graduate, he also earned a Master of Arts degree in Education from ECU.