An Interview with New Rhodes Director of Athletics

Emma Knight

Since its founding in 1848, Rhodes College has always deemed academic honesty and integrity of utmost importance. However, these traits of Rhodes’ students are not bound within the walls of the classrooms, but are also portrayed throughout the school’s many athletic fields and courts. Rhodes College prides itself on its athletes’ ability to create an equilibrium between the academic and physical workload- even when faced with traveling, sometimes weekly, for games or competitions. 

Rhodes College Athletic Director Jim Duncan, dedicates hours of time to ensure that the 23 varsity sports he manages are not only successful in the classroom and on the field, but are also receiving the funding and assistance they need to prosper. After gaining the title of Director of Athletics in July, Duncan has heavily emphasised the importance of the “Culture of Winning.” He explains this philosophy branches out into three facets:m Rhodes student athletes should desire to win on the field, in the classroom, and throughout the campus community. 

One of the initiatives being made by the athletic department in the 2021-2022 athletic school year, is the involvement of non-athletic students. Duncan explains the importance of student and fan collaboration, and explains the department intends on interacting and playing games with the supporters to gain campus-wide participation. A particular event the athletic department is excitedly anticipating is the upcoming Monday night pep rally, which will honor the student athletes, as well as the Rhodes Homecoming Royalty nominees. 

As a Division three institution, the Rhodes College community consists of roughly 25% of varsity student athletes. Director Jim Duncan explains personal relationships are the fuel to the success of Rhodes’ Sports. He also describes how the entire department works together as a team to function as efficiently as possible. Duncan makes sure that people know he is not the only person responsible for the success of the school’s athletics; he gives much credit to the development team, the coaches, and the school’s administration. From the support and encouragement from students, to the relationships formed both on the field and in the classroom, Rhodes College is as Jim Duncan describes, “truly a community.”