It's official: Irish Athletic Director Kevin White leaving for Duke

As we first told you on NewsCenter 16 at 11:00 on Friday night, Notre Dame Athletic Director Kevin White is leaving the university for the same position at Duke.

Duke introduced White as its new athletic director at an afternoon press conference on Saturday.

"Everything that Duke stands for is at the highest level," White said. "I'm honored to be a part of this Athletics Department."

Notre Dame deputy Athletic Director Missy Conboy, a former Irish basketball player, will serve as the school's interim athletic director, according to release from the university.

Conboy has worked in the ND athletic department for more than 20 years.

"For the past eight years, Kevin White has worked long and hard to enhance our athletic facilities, provide greater support for all sports, maintain the integrity of our athletics program, and build upon our institutional commitment to the highest academic standards," University President Father John Jenkins said in a statment.

"The result has been an era of great success both on and off the field. Notre Dame greatly appreciates Kevin's energy and dedication on behalf of the University. "

Jenkins says there is no timetable to name a full-time replacement.

White described the plane ride Friday night to Durham as the most difficult of his life as he knew it was symbolic of him leaving Notre Dame.

"That chapter is over," White explained. "We have crossed the line. We got on a plane at a late hour. We got here as a family and we are absolutely euphoric to be here."

"Notre Dame is a great place. We felt very comfortable. We really loved the place. But now we have a new set of challenges and opportunities that we are ready for."

White, 57, was approached about Duke's opening by former Notre Dame AD Gene Corrigan, who works as a consultant for the Blue Devils.

Corrigan is the only other Irish athletic director to not to be a Notre Dame alum.

White had a three and a half hour conversation with Duke President Richard Brodhead on Wednesday and formally had an interview Saturday morning.

"You have been an equally great leader of revenue and non-revenue sports, men’s sports and women’s sports," Brodhead said to White at the press conference.

Broadhead went on to emphasize the success student-athletes at Notre Dame have had on the field and also in the classroom---and how important that balance is to Duke as well.

White says he talked to a number people at Notre Dame before making his decision, including Irish basketball coach Mike Brey, a former assistant at Duke under head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

White says Brey had nothing but very positive things to say about Duke and Coach K.

"He was on one hand telling me to stay the course but also saying you can't turn down Duke."

Duke's athletic director position became open in April when then-AD Joe Alleva left to take charge of the athletic department at LSU.

White joined Notre Dame in 2000 from Arizona State, and brought much success to many Irish programs.

During his eight years, the women's basketball and soccer teams won the national championship, the baseball team reached the College World Series, and this year the hockey team made it to the NCAA Championship game.

The football team also played in three BCS games, although White has had many critics from within the Irish football fan base. He went through the George O'Leary saga and the hiring and firing of Ty Willingham, including a substantial buyout of Willingham's contract.

In 2007, the Irish had one of its worst seasons in school history, producing a 3-9 record under 3rd-year head coach Charlie Weis. Weis received a multi-year contract extension during his 1st season that is believed to be paying him one of the biggest salaries in college football.

Away from football, White has been responsible for hiring basketball coach Mike Brey and hockey coach Jeff Jackson, both of whom have raised the level of play of each respective program.

His biggest project has been overseeing plans for the Joyce Center renovations for both basketball and hockey. During White’s tenure, Notre Dame built a new stadium for the softball team, and is currently constructing new facilities for the soccer and lacrosse teams.

Earlier this week, White -- along with his wife Jane -- was given honorary alumni status by University President Father John Jenkins.

White succeeded the late Mike Wadsworth as athletic director at Notre Dame.

Stay with NewsCenter 16 on air and online for the latest on this developing story.

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