The Apollo-Ridge School District is recognizing our alumni for their significant contributions while attending school and their inspiring accomplishments after graduation. Alumni from Apollo, Elders Ridge, and Apollo-Ridge are eligible for this recognition.
Each month a new graduate will be featured and previous postings will be archived in the strip at right.
In order to submit a nominee, please complete this form. Your contact information is not required, but enables the District to get in touch if additional details or clarifications are necessary.
Christopher Alan King
Class of 1990
Chris King was hired as the Vice President and Director of Athletics at Robert Morris University after 10 years as the Director of Athletics at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). Prior to his time at UTRGV, King spent time as an associate athletic director at the University of Alabama and the University of Central Florida.
As Vice President and Director of Athletics at Robert Morris University, Chris King is able inspire he Apollo-Ridge family by demonstrating that through hard work and perseverance, you are able to reach your goals in life.
How did your time at Apollo-Ridge help to get you where you are today?
I would credit my upbringing in Apollo with providing the necessary lessons learned in hard work and a blue collar mentality that has served me well beyond graduating from Apollo-Ridge in 1990. My twin sister and I watched my mom work two jobs, often not getting home until midnight, and watched our dad put himself through graduate school while running a photography studio.
That was the mentality in Apollo while I was growing up and attending Apollo-Ridge. You just did what you had to do to get by. That meant working two paper routes and working 20-30 hours additional a week at the local supermarket by age 14, sometimes unloading delivery trucks at 3 a.m. Even after high school graduation, the work ethic learned living in Apollo meant working summers in a steel mill, a sausage factory and a nuclear power plant where I had to use a jackhammer to break up the concrete floor of the containment building. And after transferring to Robert Morris to complete my undergraduate degree, it meant taking 18 credits a semester while working up to 40 hours a week and fulfilling three internships until graduating college in December 1994.
I often look back at my time growing up in Apollo and the incredible friendships that were developed and my childhood buddies that continue to be a life-long bond of friendships. The athletic teams, competing in high school sports, and the conference championship banners that have been hanging in the gym since the late 1980’s and early 1990’s provided me important core values and guiding principles in learning how to balance academics, athletics and outside responsibilities, while dealing with adversity and struggle along the way.
Entering college athletics 25 years ago, I quickly realized that my upbringing in Apollo with a “blue collar” mentality prepared me for what I would face with my career path and dreams. There is no substitute for the core values of hard work, dedication, passion and pride, vision and growth, communication and collaboration, integrity, and respect for others. Over the many years of learning to overcome challenges, moving to five different states over the last 25 years, and broadening my world as I never dreamed of while growing up in Apollo, I’ve learned that being involved in college athletics and higher education administration is the greatest profession in the world. I would not be a Division I Athletic Director and in a position to lead young men and women and aspiring professionals in their career pursuits, without the incredible friendships, mentorship and relationships, the education both in the classroom and outside the classroom, and the success and the failures learned as a student-athlete while growing up in Apollo and today, a proud alumnus of Apollo-Ridge.
Lesson Learned or Words of Advice:
My daily advice to myself from my own life lessons since graduating Apollo-Ridge, moving away from Apollo for the first time, and post college graduation, and working in college athletics for the past 25 years:
“Hard work, preparation, discipline, attention to detail and learning from failures is the key to success.”
The #1 question I get asked often, “What is your keys to success?” My answer is simple, “Hard work, preparation, discipline, attention to detail and learning from failures is the key to success.”
Becoming an Athletic Director at two Division I institutions has been a process and not an easy process. Trust the process in your career pursuits.
There is no great secret to success. No shortcuts. No quick fixes. Just time-honored values practiced day after day, week after week, year after year.
Hard work (over and over and over) – no magical system – work harder than everyone else – blue collar. Growing up in Apollo, I was able to develop this important key skill set.
Discipline, preparation and attention to detail. Discipline is……one day at a time, discipline is…..learning from failures, not getting too high on successes or big wins, focus on small details, eliminate distractions and clutter, concentrate on execution, don’t settle for 98% correct, discipline to train your mind with personal and professional development as you progress in your career.
And once you’ve achieved that, it’s the discipline to do it all over again…..
The other words of wisdom that I can provide is, “(1) learning is a life-long journey, and (2) learn to listen”. Future high school graduates need to continue to seek knowledge and wisdom from mentors and constantly challenge themselves to learn more and then apply it. Your generation can learn more by keeping an open mind, gathering and processing information and ideas from seasoned, successful individuals than from believing that you may have all the answers. I made my mistakes and had a number of mentors who pulled me aside and guided me along my career path. I learned early on to embrace the lessons learned from mistakes and to resolve and treat them as learning opportunities. I think I have learned more from failure throughout my career than I have from success.
Vice President and Director of Athletics
Robert Morris University June 2019 – Present
Director of Athletics
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) October 2009 – May 2019
Associate Athletic Director for Administration February 2008 – September 2009
Associate Athletic Director for Compliance May 2002 - January 2008
University of Alabama
Assistant Athletic Director for Internal Operations April 2001 – May 2002
Assistant Athletic Director for Compliance August 1999 – April 2001
University of Central Florida (UCF)
Director of Compliance and Special Events
Liberty University June 1997 – August 1999
Campbell University June 1995 - May 1997
Intern to Director of Compliance
Robert Morris College October 1993 - December 1994
- 2018 NACDA Under Armour Division I-AAA Athletic Director of the Year recipient.
- Former member of the NACDA I-AAA Executive Committee and Vice President 2017-2018; Chair, NACDA I-AAA Athletics Director Association Mentoring Committee; and, the NACDA Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year Awards Selection Committee.
- Represented the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) within the Western Athletic Conference as the Chair, Athletic Council 2017-2018; Chair, Men’s Basketball Committee; and, Chair, Strategic Planning Committee.
- Member, Robert Morris University Sport Management Advisory Board, January 2010 – Present.
- Inducted into the Robert Morris University Sport Management Hall of Fame,
- Speaker on “Inside the Head Coach Search” with UTRGV Head Women’s Basketball Coach at the 2019 Head Coaches Institute, Inc. professional development session for basketball coaches.
- Co-authored article, “Lead Your Department to Success by Investing in People”, College Athletics and the Law, December 2018 Issue.
- Participant in video by Athletic Director U. from D1 Ticker, “Mentoring 'A' Players: UTRGV's King & South Dakota State's Sell”, moderated by Parker Executive Search.
- Co-authored a publication with Athletic Director U., "Set the Course, Empower Staff to Steer the Ship”. https://athleticdirectoru.com/articles/empower-staff-chris-king/
- Co-authored a publication by College AD, “An Atmosphere of Accountability is Propelling UTRGV Forward”. http://collegead.com/accountability-propelling-utrgv/
- Keynote speaker at the 2017 Robert Morris University Sport Management Summit. Panel member at the 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2015 Robert Morris University Sport Management Summit.
- Panel member at the 2018, 2017, 2016 CALS Symposium for aspiring Athletic Directors.
- Panel member at the 2018 NACDA Mentoring Institute, June 2018.
- Panel member at the 2018 Coaches Institute, Inc. professional development session for basketball coaches.
- Panel member at the 2016 Head Coaches Training Center professional development session for basketball coaches.
- Instructor at the 3rd Annual Emerging Administrators Academy (Emerging AD) Intercollegiate Athletics professional development conference.
- Featured guest on The SURVE Hour, a Voice America Internet Radio weekly broadcast, on “creating what yet can be from what already exists”, leading vs. managing and transformational change in an organization.
- Received the 2013 UTPA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee first-ever Leadership Award at the Awards Banquet for commitment and dedication to Bronc athletics.
- Served as co-editor in a publication by Jossey-Bass, Wiley & Sons, Inc., entitled, “Handbook of College Athletics and Recreation Administration”; co-authored a chapter on Professional Development in College Athletics and Recreation; released in August 2012.
- Named to the National Center for Responsible Gaming (NCRG) Task Force on College Gambling, coordinated through the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, 2008 – 2011.
- Served as Chair of State of Alabama Athlete Agents Commission Subcommittee and a member of the State Commission, 2002-2007.
- Authored a chapter in Ahead of the game: Understanding and addressing campus gambling monograph on The University of Alabama’s cross-divisional institutional approach to gambling education and intervention. Co-authored another chapter in monograph addressing live and online gambling on athletics and gambling by student-athletes, published in Spring 2006.
Master of Education Bachelor of Science
Concentration in Educational Leadership/Supervision Major: Business; Sport Management
Campbell University Robert Morris College
Graduated: April 1997 Graduated: December 1994