The Kentucky State University director of athletics was recently recognized by HBCU Digest as one of the 50 most intriguing people of the HBCU community.

Etienne Thomas and Kentucky State were recognized for breaking the model with the former University of Kansas athletic executive making the rare move to HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) leadership.

“I am thankful and humbled by the recognition and inclusion in the HBCU Digest Top 50 as a representative of Kentucky State University and am honored to be included in concert with these distinguished and inspiring leaders,” Thomas said. “I consider it a privilege to serve the students, coaches, staff, alumni and supporters in Thorobred nation as the director of athletics and look forward to the future as we continue to move KSU forward. Graduation, academic excellence, diversity, equity, inclusion and sportsmanship are the cornerstone of intercollegiate competition and championships.”

The hiring of Thomas in July was historic, believed to be the first administrator from a Power 5 conference to make the jump to HBCU Division II athletic leadership.

Thomas previously served as the associate director of athletics for student life at University of Kansas Athletics, Inc. since July 2017, where she served as primary reporter of Title IX, VOWA and Clearly allegations for Kansas allegations. Thomas also monitored, communicated with and advocated for student-athletes in the housing and University student code hearing proceedings, as well as partnered with the sexual assault prevention and education center to provide education, empowerment and prevention of sexual assault.