Loading

Thank You, Jacki Jacki Silar || Senior Associate Director of Athletics

After four decades of exemplary service as both a coach and administrator, Duke University wants to say thank you, Jacki, for your constant commitment to our coaches, student-athletes and Duke.

“I met Jacki Silar in the Fall of 1970. We were freshmen at High Point College. People liked her and wanted to be her friend. That carried over when she joined me at Duke in 1979. Jacki has made Duke Athletics better. As a coach and as an administrator, she has been excellent. If I had to choose her best quality over her tenure at Duke, it is her ability to listen...Such a good listener. And then … The voice of reason … for all who chose to listen to her. My best friend, Jacki Silar.” - Debbie Leonard, Former Duke Women's Basketball Head Coach

“Jacki Silar is SUCH a mentor to me, as well as so many others. She constantly moved the needle for women’s sports and created several platforms for leadership. Every decision she made met her mission of student-athlete welfare and personal growth. Her career spanned such a pivotal time for women and the female student-athlete experience, and she navigated all that unchartered territory with integrity, grace and above all, humor. I have so much LOVE for you, Jacki!! Congrats on your retirement. I am so grateful for your love and support through the years.” - Katie Meier, Former Duke Women's Basketball Student-Athlete, Current Miami Women's Basketball Head Coach

“To me, Jacki Silar was the one person I knew would always be there and listen. She was a friendly face, a friend, and someone who cared so much about you. Whether it was about academics or athletics, she was never too busy to help. Jacki made my college career special. Duke was lucky to have such a wonderful woman on its team for so many years and I am fortunate to have had the chance to call Jacki my friend.” - Liz Janangelo, Former Duke Women's Golf Student-Athlete

“I am honored to have known Jacki as a coach, administrator, teacher, mentor, and most importantly, as a friend. She has been a constant throughout my adult life and one who always shows up…wedding, babies, divorce, coaching 4 (maybe 3…sorry Gavin) championship youth basketball teams, and much more. Jacki, you have served Duke and so many student-athletes incredibly well. All who have been so fortunate to experience Duke during the Jacki Silar-Chris Kennedy era, hold a deep passion for Duke and benefit from your modeling of leadership, ethics and commitment. You have helped establish an expectation of what is means to have the privilege of being a member of the Duke family, both during and after one’s collegiate experience. In reflecting on your legacy, for me, this is the greatest contribution you leave behind. Thank you for your life’s work at Duke. I, and so many, are most grateful. Enjoy the next chapters.” - Sue Harnett, Former Duke Women's Basketball Student-Athlete

"I always knew Jacki's door was going to be open when I needed her for anything. It was so reassuring to know I could stop in anytime. She truly was a mother figure for me, and I am so grateful for her. Even after college, I still would stop in to say hi and update her on life. With her smile and hug, you always knew everything was going to be all right." - Jenny Chuasiriporn, Former Duke Women's Golf Student-Athlete

“Wishing Jacki all the best in her well-deserved retirement. In her 40-plus years in athletics, Jacki always represented Duke University athletics to the highest degree and never backed down from additional opportunities in support of the NCAA student-athlete experience. She was an instrumental presence and guiding force for women’s basketball during her time on the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee from 2005-10, that included serving as committee chair.” - Rick Nixon, NCAA Associate Director

“'Success is a project that’s always under construction' ... Pat Summitt. Jacki, it is okay to remove your hard hat. You have succeeded as a coach, leader, role model and friend to so many. Go ahead and take a bow. Best wishes, always.” - Carol Stiff, ESPN Vice President

“I had the honor of knowing and working with Jacki Silar as a student-athlete as well as a Duke women’s basketball staff member. When I arrived at Duke as a women’s basketball student-athlete in 1993, my roommate played field hockey, and Coach Silar was the head coach. I enjoyed supporting my roommate and admiring Coach Silar’s passion. She transitioned into administration during my time as a student-athlete, and I appreciated her open-door policy. When I returned as a staff member in 2001, Jacki was one of the first to welcome me back with open arms. Her kind, honest, and consistent leadership has always meant so much to me. I wish her the best in retirement.” - Shaeeta Williams, Former Duke Women’s Basketball Student-Athlete & Staff Member, Current Director of Women’s Basketball Operations at LSU

“Jacki Silar has been a champion for Duke University, women and women's sports. I was privileged to serve with Jacki in her role as a member and chair of the Division I Women's Basketball Committee. Goodness gracious - we had some challenges but, we sure did have a lot of fun along the journey. More importantly, I am so very thankful for my friendship with Jacki through so many years. I hold our friendship near and dear to my heart. Jacki - enjoy retirement - each sunrise, each sunset and every minute in between. Cherish this part of your life's journey for it is a special time.” - Sue Donohoe, Former NCAA Vice President and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee

“Jacki Silar is a staple in women’s athletics at Duke University. She has been part of the success in developing many young athletes into successful student-athletes and then into successful people. She always greets people with her warm smile, respect for people and her genuineness is easy to feel when you are around her. Duke University has been lucky to have her involved with athletics for many years. They say it’s not about the image of something or the name, but it is about the people behind the school or company. Jacki Silar is a great example of when you have a great university, great people, you can bring something to another level!! This has been true with Jacki’s impact on the university, athletics, and most importantly, the people who have been lucky enough to have been around her. Congratulations, Jacki! Enjoy your retirement!!" - Leigh Anne (Hardin) Creavy, Former Duke Women’s Golf Student-Athlete

"Jacki has meant so much to me during my career at Duke and beyond. She brought wisdom and a calm, steady supportive presence when I needed it most. She always listened with an attentive ear and an open heart. I will be forever grateful for our time together at Duke and will always consider her a great mentor and friend.” - Gail Goestenkors, Former Duke Women’s Basketball Head Coach

“Where would women's sports be today without Jacki Silar? She has been the voice at the table for so many years, always advocating for women at Duke. Thank you, Jacki, for your selfless years of service and for having such an impact on my life and so many student-athletes. Cheers to the next chapter, my friend!” - Lauren Rice, Former Duke Women’s Basketball Student-Athlete & Staff Member

“During my time at Duke, Jacki was always a source of comfort, guidance and compassion - something I desperately needed as a young student-athlete. As a student, I relied on her academic advice about which classes to take (or not take, like Calculus, lol). As a person, I depended on her wisdom about how to become a better human being. Even as an adult, 20-plus years after meeting her, I lean on her support for ideas. Jacki, you will be sorely missed but if there is anyone who deserves some time off, it is you!!! Wishing the best, most relaxing retirement… With love, Prim.” - Prim Siripipat, Former Duke Women’s Tennis Student-Athlete

“Whether in my role as a Duke student-athlete, Jacki's academic advisee, Duke women's assistant golf coach, or head coach at a competing university, Jacki Silar has offered me loyal support for 25 years. Jacki is a true mentor and leader by example, as well as someone I admire both personally and professionally. I will be forever appreciative of the significant impact that Jacki has made on me, her student-athletes, Duke University, and women's athletics." - Kalen Anderson, Former Duke Women’s Golf Student-Athlete & Staff Member, Current Women’s Golf Head Coach at South Carolina

“Congratulations to Jacki on her well-deserved retirement! For 40+ years she has been a truly amazing leader and very respected coach and athletic administrator at Duke and nationally. I always enjoyed working with Jacki, both with our institutional sports and in ACC meetings, because she always supported the best interest of student-athletes. Jacki is also a cherished friend and I wish her the best!” - Beth Miller, Former Senior Associate AD/SWA at University of North Carolina

“Throughout your career, you have represented both Duke and the ACC with the highest integrity. As a coach and administrator for over four decades, you have left an incredible imprint on the lives of countless student-athletes, coaches and colleagues, not only at Duke but across the landscape of collegiate athletics. You should be very proud of all you have accomplished, and we wish you the best with your future endeavors.” - John D. Swofford, ACC Commissioner

“Jacki was a terrific colleague. She was also a tremendous advocate for the Duke student-athletes and coaches. I always respected and valued Jacki’s opinion even if we disagreed, because she was thoughtful and always looking at the big picture. Duke and the ACC are going to miss her.” - Jane Miller, Former Virginia Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Programs/Senior Woman Administrator

“Jacki felt so much personal responsibility to get women’s sports on the map, and in a big way. She cared so much for our teams and for each one of us. And of course, a big Jacki Silar smile could turn your day around in a heartbeat!” - Vanessa Webb, Former Duke Women’s Tennis Student-Athlete

"Reading Jacki's biography in education, coaching and athletic administration is just astounding. She was truly a pioneer for women in sport, and it's incredibly inspiring to think of the many ways she has impacted so many athletes and coaches through the years. As a coach under her guidance, she was incredibly perceptive and always brought a warm and caring heart to the conversation. I'm grateful for her passion and dedication to develop incredible opportunities for women in sport. She will be missed not only at Duke but across the country!" - Jan Dowling, Former Duke Women’s Golf Assistant Coach, Current Michigan Women’s Golf Head Coach

"Jacki,Congratulations on retirement. To think about the lives that you have touched during your time at Duke is truly amazing. I am grateful for the time that we were able to spend together… having you join on volleyball road trips and you cheering me on every step of the way brings a smile to my face. Volleyball and Duke Athletics gave me the opportunity to attend the best school in the country – you and Coach Nagel played a huge role in setting me up for success for the rest of my life because you believed in me. I am forever grateful – enjoy retired life and please give me a ring if you are ever in Tampa, Florida! GO DUKE." - Ali McCurdy, Former Duke Volleyball Student-Athlete

“Jacki Silar has provided strong and visionary leadership in the ACC throughout her career, constantly reminding everyone to put the interest of the student-athletes at the forefront of all decisions. She is also one of the greatest teachers to not only to student-athletes, but to coaches and fellow administrators. I am thankful to call her a friend and a mentor, and am grateful for her support of me personally and professionally over the years.” - Kris Pierce, Atlantic Coast Conference Championships & Senior Woman Administrator

“Jacki was one of the first administrators I met when I first started covering women’s basketball 13 years ago and I was impressed by how much she cared about the game. She was always willing to help explain a ruling by the NCAA committee or give her knowledge to help demystify the bracketing process. Her voice and passion for the sport will be missed.” - Doug Feinberg, Associated Press

“Jacki was not just an administrator but also a great advisor and a wonderful source of wisdom. I can remember my days as a player and as a coach when I would just stop by her office to say "hello," but I always left with a lesson to help me be better for my team and my players.. The Duke Family may be losing a leader and mentor in the athletics department, but Jacki will always be remembered for the impact she made during her time serving others.” - Joy Cheek, Former Duke Women’s Basketball Student-Athlete & Assistant Coach, Current Clemson Women’s Basketball Assistant Coach

“Jacki, over the last 20 years, you have been such a great friend and co-worker. You were always someone I knew I could drop by your office to talk with and you would give the best advice. You cared for the student-athletes like no other and women’s athletics benefited greatly from your hard work. From hosting NCAA Tournaments, being on various committees and traveling for women’s golf and women’s basketball, it was always a pleasure to work with you. I don’t know what I will do without my golf travel buddy from now on as we had a lot of fun these last number of years. You will be greatly missed at Duke and I hope that you enjoy retirement as you certainly deserve some time off.” - Lindy Brown, Duke Senior Associate Sports Information Director

“Jacki Silar is what good looks like in the world of athletics. From the time I met her as a volunteer assistant coach to the women’s basketball team in 1979, through her tenure as a head coach for field hockey, through her last day as the Senior Women’s Administrator, she has been the same: expert, selfless, driven, generous, strong and gentle. More, she unfailingly and unflinchingly lived the standard that we all aspire to. And, whether it was a freshman struggling to find their way or a seasoned coach seeking counsel of a sage colleague, she ALWAYS had time and gave her best. The performance of Duke’s teams during her tenure says enough, the affection and respect of legion of student athletes who were touched by her says it all.” - Sue Gordon, Former Duke Women’s Basketball Student-Athlete, Former Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence

“Jacki's impact on student-athletes and especially women's sports is incredible. She was our team's greatest supporter and a huge advocate for us, helping us succeed on and off the course and in the classroom throughout our entire college journey.” - Jennie Lee, Former Duke Women’s Golf Student-Athlete

“Jacki represents the true definition of a leader who not only guides teams towards the achievement of collective goals but also creates a welcoming, inclusive and respectful atmosphere where all team members can perform at their best. With her strength of character (and also her hugs!) she is able to cultivate confidence and peace in all around her.” - Virginia Elena Carta, Former Duke Women’s Golf Student-Athlete

"Congratulations on an amazing career but also an amazing legacy! I am so thankful for all that you have personally done for women’s athletics at Duke and your presence as a mentor. I appreciate your vision to invest in me as a female athlete. I was blessed to be the first female Heidrick Scholarship recipient because of your commitment to see the whole athlete, and not just minutes in the game. Because you were able to see my courage, commitment, and excellence, I was able to better see these virtues in myself, and hold myself to a high standard- in all aspects of my life. I was then able to return years later and share that with young athletes at the ESPNW event. Thank you. I know you have impacted so many people, especially young women, in your time at Duke. I know I join a chorus of individuals to sing your praises in harmony. Enjoy your well-deserved retirement and rest. We all will continue to carry your legacy forward. With love and appreciation," -Angel Brown (Thompson), Duke Women’s Lacrosse ’15

"I could not hold you in higher esteem for your outstanding professionalism, your thoughtful demeanor complete with that famous and disarming Jackie Silar smile, and for being a person who was always trying to ‘Get Better Every Day.' I don’t have to tell you how high I count that in positive attributes of human beings." - Edward A. Ibarguen, PGA

"Thank you for being a role model of integrity and relationship building. I have learned from you that sometimes picking up the phone to make a real connection with a person is the best way to get things done. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come to your office with a challenge I’ve faced and you’ve been able to pick up the phone or send an email and through your warm and caring personality, you’ve opened a way forward." - Emily Durham, ACE Program Director

"Jacki, it has been an absolute honor and privilege for me to work with you in many different capacities for the last 23 years. We did not always agree, but you never once gave me reason to question your integrity or your complete commitment to what was best for our student-athletes at Duke. You had the unique ability to fight hard for a cause and then respectfully and professionally accept the result, even if you did not agree with the decision. You have been a consistent champion and advocate for our Olympic sport programs, and your departure will leave a huge void in that area. Finally, I am most appreciative of your kindness and empathy, and your ability to connect to and mentor many young professionals over the years. I was ALWAYS proud to call you my friend and colleague." - Brad Berndt, Duke Senior Associate Director of Athletics/Student Services

"Your care for your co-workers, your ability to serve as a mentor, your compassion and caring for the student-athletes have been so amazing. Know that you will be missed…missed as a leader….missed as a confidant…missed as a friend! You have touched so many in such positive ways, blending your wisdom and character with oftentimes knowing the right approach and the right thing to say. I have been honored to serve at Duke with you, to have been hallmates in Cameron for years (really loved when we would have a talk or two and to snag a piece of candy), and to call you a friend. As you move onto your next stage/journey/adventure, know that you have filled so many hearts and minds with positive thoughts, with love, and with understanding and compassion." - Mike Sobb, Duke Associate Director of Athletics/Resource Acquisition

"Your mentoring and support for me, from my interview until today, has always been unparalleled in enthusiasm, kindness, and best kind of tough love. You are a true legend, and there are simply not enough words to express the loss for the department and for women in sport everywhere. You started this journey probably not realizing how many lives you would change or people you would inspire. You should know that I owe my career and life to you, and for that I can never thank you enough. You have left very big shoes to fill, that is without question. Thank you for being you and for being a fearless, strong pioneer in a man’s world. No matter how hard it gets, I will always think of you and continue the fight for the next generation of crazy great women chasing a ring." - Megan Cooke Carcagno, Duke Rowing Head Coach

"Duke, and especially Duke Volleyball, is so lucky to have had you as such an integral part of it all for so long. You may not get the credit often (or want it), but we all know you’ve had a vital role in shaping the student-athlete experience here. This place would not be what it is without you! I am forever grateful that you allowed me to have the opportunity to learn from you and work alongside you. Thank you for your support and guidance over the years. For always advocating for both Dez and I, and for investing your love and care into each of us. You’ve made so many of the people around you better humans and that, more than anything else, will be your legacy." - Kellie Catanach, Duke Volleyball Assistant Coach and Former Student-Athlete

"Thank you. I don’t know if those two words can possibly convey how much gratitude I have for you, your friendship, and everything that you have done for my family and I. I cannot thank you enough for always being there, not just for me, but for our program and the numerous student-athletes that were drawn to your wisdom and advice. I can honestly say that Duke Women’s Tennis would not be where it is today without the countless hours that you put into supporting and believing in me and our tennis family. Thank you for your honesty, integrity, and passion that you have given to Duke and to women’s tennis, we are all better coaches, alumni, and student athletes as a result. We have a saying in our program - 'Bleed Blue' and we all know that you will forever be a part of Duke and will always bleed blue." - Jamie Ashworth, Duke Women's Tennis Head Coach

"I am incredibly fortunate to have been one of your student-athletes at Duke. Thank you so much for being there for me and cheering me on every step of the way! I will always remember your warm hugs and words of encouragement after every round. You have helped me become the best version of myself. I can never forget the moment when I saw you walking outside the ropes, by my side, on the final hole of my collegiate golf career. Thank you for all you’ve done for the program, I truly appreciate it. Here’s to a well-deserved and happy retirement!!" - Sandy Choi, Former Duke Women's Golf Student-Athlete

“Jacki has the incredible ability to connect with people. She was an essential part of my four years at Duke. Always the voice of comfort, always giving incredible advice but most importantly, always empowering young female athletes and making you feel loved. Happy retirement, Jacki! Thank you for the incredible impact you have had in my life and the life of so many others at Duke.” - Candy Hannemann, Former Duke Women’s Golf Student-Athlete

“Jacki was always such a comforting presence for the golf team at Duke. She offered us her full attention, advice and laughter whenever needed. Playing on one of the best NCAA teams in the country at such young ages is an incredibly tricky navigation when you’re away from your support crew. For many of us, Jacki was the first point of call with life decisions or academic choices; but she also helped us through the pressure as a team. As she retires, I hope she does so with an understanding of the impact her unwavering support gave so many student athletes at Duke.” - Alison Whitaker, Former Duke Women’s Golf Student-Athlete

“Coach Silar, you have made a tremendous impact on my life, in bringing me to Duke, believing in me and surrounding me with an incredible team of women. Congratulations, Jacki, on all you have accomplished throughout your career and in being a champion for change, progress and women in sports. Thank you! Lots of love and admiration. P.S. Cesare and Janice send a high five!” - Laura Gentile, Former Duke Field Hockey Student-Athlete, Current Senior Vice President for Marketing at ESPN

With love and admiration,

- Duke Athletics