Announcing Neil Hooper’s Retirement

Announcing Neil Hooper's Retirement

Dear King’s Community,

I write to share the bittersweet news that Neil Hooper, King’s Athletics Director of 33 years, has made the decision to retire from his role, effective July 1. I know this news will be a little heartbreaking for many members of our community. With Neil’s retirement we are losing more than the leader of King’s Athletics program, we lose what Neil brings to our community as a loyal friend and trusted colleague, someone always ready with a word of encouragement, celebration and support.

A lifelong athlete who exemplifies the concept of sportsmanship, Neil joined King’s in 1991 as Athletics Director and Men’s Basketball coach. That year saw the first of a sequence of championships for men’s soccer, coached by Dave Douglas. Under Neil’s direction, the department continued to flourish: in the four years between 1998 and 2002, the Blue Devils won seven championships spanning men’s and women’s teams, and we became known as one of the top varsity badminton programs nationwide—2024 marked six straight championship badminton wins combined with two gold medals at CCAA nationals for the second year in a row.

Neil was also instrumental to the creation of the Debra Deane Little and Robert Little Academic Scholarships for Varsity Athletes, an award that is, of course, generously funded by our Chancellor and her husband. Neil’s many contributions to King’s have been complemented by his ongoing involvement in athletics governance across the Atlantic Collegiate Athletics Association and the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). In 2019, Neil was recognized at the highest level of college sport in Canada, with the CCAA Athletic Director of the Year Award.

Neil leaves the department in incredible form, drawing his career to a close as the Blue Devils celebrate a year of unprecedented success throughout the region and across the country. He will be providing continuing support to the department on a part time basis over the coming months. I invite you all to read this profile, commissioned on the occasion of his retirement, to learn more about Neil’s impressive career and the deep impact he has had on all who have had the pleasure of working with him.

Although it is sad news for the College, I think it helps to know that Neil has made this decision, in part, to spend more time with his family, which now includes granddaughter Peyton, who was born on Sunday.

I am grateful to Athletics Coordinator Trish Miles, who has agreed to step into the role of Interim Athletics Director following Neil’s departure. I look forward to working more directly with Trish. The process to recruit a permanent Athletics Director will begin in the coming academic year.

Please join me in thanking Neil for his outstanding service to King’s and in wishing him a long and fulfilling retirement!



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