Faculty and Staff - October 15, 2021

Dear Colleagues:
Some of you have undoubtedly heard that Interim Athletic Director Hank Harrawood provided his resignation a week or more ago. We wish Hank well and thank him for his work over the last few months and during his overall time at Winthrop. I am pleased to share with you that, with the Board of Trustees’ full support, I have named Kelley Kish, a seasoned AD and administrator who came highly recommended to fill the position, as the new Interim Athletic Director for Winthrop.  

Kelley came aboard in February 2020, and like me, had no idea the impact the pandemic would have on her professional responsibilities. Luckily for Winthrop, Kelley has a wealth of collegiate administrative experience and has received praise in her time here for handling our internal operations, diversity efforts and our pandemic response, as well as being responsive to student-athlete concerns during trying times. I look forward to working with her as we return to carrying out our sports seasons under more normal conditions. Please see the release below for more about Kelley and wish her the best when you see her around campus.

Go Eagles!


George Hynd

Interim President


Kelley Kish Named Winthrop’s Interim Athletic Director 

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA - Kelley Kish, Winthrop University’s senior associate athletic director for business and finance and senior woman administrator, has been named as interim athletic director for the university.

Interim President George Hynd made the announcement on Oct. 15 after approval by the Board of Trustees. “Kelley has a wealth of collegiate administrative experience,” Hynd said. “She has had a major impact at her previous jobs, and has received praise at Winthrop for handling our internal operations, diversity efforts and our pandemic response, as well as being responsive to student-athlete concerns during trying times. I look forward to working with her as we return to carrying out our sports seasons under more normal conditions.”

She will be only the second female to lead the department. Winthrop’s first athletic director was Mary Roland Griffin, who was a trailblazer in pioneering the growth of women’s collegiate sports.

“I am excited to serve our Eagles as interim AD and continue to advance Winthrop Athletics. Our staff works tirelessly to support our student-athletes on their path to the ultimate goal of graduation,” said Kish. “Special thanks to Ken (Halpin) and Hank (Harrawood) for bringing me into the Eagle family and sharing lessons of leadership during our time together.”

Kish joined the university in February 2020 to oversee the department’s budget and finance, gender equity, Title IX and sport administration areas. Her duties will expand to oversee 16 Division I sports and a department that has set new records for departmental cumulative grade point average (GPA) each year since 2016-17, including a record-high 3.35 mark by the student-athlete population for the 2020-21 academic year.

In addition, Winthrop's tradition-rich men's basketball program is the reigning Big South Conference champion for the past two years. And the Esports team in its second year captured the 2021 Rocket League championship at the Collegiate Esports National Championship.

Before Winthrop, Kish served as director of athletics for Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, where she was the leader of an athletic department with 19 NCAA Division II athletic programs. During her tenure she worked on enhancing the student-athlete experience by increasing academic success support and life skills programming, and by setting an inclusive culture of sustained success and graduation.

Lake Erie achieved three conference championships (women's lacrosse, wrestling and men's soccer), recorded the highest-ever department semester GPA, and established a new athletic financial aid model for the department while Kish was there.

Prior to that, Kish spent five years at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she was the associate director of athletics for sport administration, compliance and internal operations/senior woman administrator. She was a sport administrator for 12 of the department's 17 athletic programs.

In addition, she spearheaded department inclusion efforts for Title IX compliance, gender, and diversity equity and led the hosting efforts of several post-season competitions. She served as tournament manager for the 2013 and 2014 NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Tournament South Regional where NSU earned regional championships and advanced to the Elite 8 (2013) and Final Four (2014).

Other jobs for Kish included working as assistant director of athletics for compliance/senior women administrator for the University of Indianapolis, and as coordinator of volleyball operations/director of camp operations at the University of Florida.

Active in the field’s associations, Kish currently serves on several Big South and NCAA committees. She is on the Board of Directors for Women Leaders in College Sports (formerly NACWAA).

Kish graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications in 2003 and a master's degree in sport management in 2009. She also completed a graduate certificate in sport revenue generation from Nova Southeastern University in 2017 and this year completed a certificate in diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace from the University of South Florida.

For more information, contact Brett Redden, assistant AD for communications, at reddenb@winthrop.edu.