CIU Bids Kim Abbott Godspeed
Kim Abbott made her mark in the history of Columbia International University. And now CIU has said its goodbyes to the school’s first athletics director.
Abbott is leaving at the end of the Fall semester to give more attention and care to her elderly parents in Oklahoma. A farewell reception was held for Abbott in the Moore Fitness Center, a building that stood when Abbott was hired in 2010, but needed an athletics program to make it come alive. Two years later, under Abbott’s leadership, the CIU Rams were playing intercollegiate men’s soccer with a half dozen other sports added over the rest of her tenure.
“I know that it was hard work, but it’s very rewarding,” Abbott said in between hugs from CIU staff, faculty and student-athletes. “I’ve been given so much more than I’ve given. I love the coaches, I love the people. I love the kids. I think that’s what CIU is all about. I’ve received so much.”
CIU Assistant Athletics Director and Men’s Head Soccer Coach James Whitaker will become the new A.D. after Abbott’s departure. He says he has learned from Abbott how to be what he calls, “a coach’s A.D.”
“Her door is always open,” Whitaker said. “She makes the job of a coach a lot easier, coming alongside us and helping to manage all the little things that need to be done — a lot of the things you don’t see or hear about, but ultimately making our Athletics Department successful.”
Abbott took a moment to look around the room and address the athletes who had come to bid her farewell.
“You know I love you,” Abbott began. “You guys are special and on the right track. You’ve chosen to come to CIU. This is amazing place. Hang in there. Don’t give up. Be great athletes.”