Bob King didn’t want his career in collegiate athletics administration to be nomadic.
Finding the right fit was a priority, and he has more than accomplished this goal as he is in the process of completing his 22nd year as the director of athletics at Trinity University in San Antonio.
When King first arrived on campus in 1993, Trinity had recently transitioned from a Division I program to Division III. This was right up King’s alley given that he was coming from his alma mater, Division III Millsaps College, where he had been the athletics director.
“It became hard for a college of our size to maintain success in Division I,” King said of Trinity, whose accomplishments included winning the 1972 NCAA championship in men’s tennis. “The administration decided to transition to nonscholarship athletics. It was a great opportunity to take a program from the infancy stage to develop it to where we are now. It has been very rewarding.”
Trinity has captured four NCAA team championships (men’s and women’s tennis, women’s basketball and men’s soccer) and has finished in the top five of the Directors’ Cup standings twice during King’s tenure.
But King is quick to point out that the academic side is the driving force to the whole operation.
“We wanted to show a highly selective academic institution could be successful in athletics,” King said.
That attitude is pervasive throughout the athletics program, where King sets the tone. He knows academic and athletic success can be attained because he was able to achieve both as a student at Millsaps, where he played football and baseball.
On the gridiron, he set the school career interceptions record (17) and played in the Division III national semifinals. In baseball, King posted a .320 career batting average. He earned his degree in education in 1977, and in 1983, he went to Idaho State University to earn a Master of Physical Education degree in athletics administration.
King, who grew up in Abingdon, Virginia, where he thought his high school athletics director was “the coolest guy because he got to oversee all the sports,” knows he was fortunate to find a place early in his profession.
“You see people in athletic administration moving to the next job every four or five years,” said King, noting that he has enjoyed raising his children, Tennison and CC, in San Antonio. “I am very thankful and fortunate that the university has allowed me to continue in this capacity. It has been a great ride.”