North Carolina Central athletics has undergone a changing of the guard after more than a decade and a half. Long-time Director of Athletics Dr. Ingrid Wicker-McCree stepped down from her post at the end of May, and now Dr. Louis “Skip” Perkins is running the show.
The former NCCU tennis star’s road to the top spot at his alma mater’s athletics department took him from being a high school coach to TV to AD stops at Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Howard and Delaware State. After a short stint at Morgan State outside of athletics he’s back and ready to take over.
We caught up with Perkins his first week on the job to talk about his journey and his plans to help his alma mater continue to develop as it enters its second full decade as a DI institution. Below are some highlights from the interview, which can be heard in its entirety here.
Biggest surprise since taking over as AD
I think maybe one of the biggest surprises, I would say probably is being on campus and just seeing how vibrant the facilities are overall, the residential halls… the new ones, the new School of Nursing, the new School of Business. Oh, goodness gracious. That student union is unbelievable. Just seeing how campuses prosper and grow in all the years has been awesome.
Making sure North Carolina Central Academics stay strong
They’re here to get a quality education, a small portion will ever play a professional sport. So it’s so critical and vital that they do well in the classroom and they have the support of technology and those things to do well.
We’re getting it right, academics compliance. Our academic setting is tremendous. We’re above a 3.0 and most importantly, we just received that award for academic progress rate, highest in the conference and a good $10,000 check to go along with it. So we know how important academic setting is to the lifeline of a strong athletic department.
A lot of little things, you know, a lot of esthetic things. We know these buildings are older buildings. We know who’s played in it. We know the history. But a beautification, you know, making it look better, be more appeasing to guests. And I think we have to think about upgrading our locker rooms for football. That’s a piece. We need to find somewhere for our basketball team and volleyball team and cheerleaders to practice when this building is in use, because we use this building for a little bit of everything. It’s one of the largest places in Durham to gather. So we get displaced a little bit. So we need places where our teams practice. So that’s something that has to be done.
We’ve been functioning with four tennis courts for a long time, but it’s kind of hard to have a Division I match with four singles when you have two more sitting side. So those are some areas we’ve identified and they won’t happen overnight. And I think we need to find a way. Our softball team. We’re hoping they can be playing in Durham. We don’t have a softball field. So those are areas we’re identifying and you know, it won’t happen at one time and do some aggressive fundraising, things like that and some stuff we’ll have to just improve, renovate and get better.