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King finds ‘throne’ in athletics department

Zak King, Former Hornet football kicker and ESU alumni, was hired as the new director of athletic operations and event management. King graduated last December and began his duties in July.

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Zak King, Former Hornet football kicker and ESU alumni, was hired as the new director of athletic operations and event management. King graduated last December and began his duties in July.

Zak King, former Emporia State kicker, has been hired as the new director of Athletic Operations and Event Management at Emporia State and is preparing for his first big event with the first home football game Sept 4. 

King, who worked under the previous event manager, Luke Kriley, last year, started the job July 6 and will be in charge of game day operations for all Emporia athletic events. King does everything from hiring ball boys to making sure ushers help fans find their seats. 

“I have stayed in touch with Luke Kriley and when I found out about him leaving, I saw it as an opportunity. When the job actually came up, I thought why not pursue it,” King said.

McKenzie Cinelli, director of athletic marking, spends her days working beside King preparing for game day events. 

“We work together in terms of planning and preparing for different events. He just does more of the actual on field things while I focus on the promotional aspect,” Cinelli said.

King said he had never thought about a career in athletic administration until he landed the event management position at ESU and plans to get his masters in AD while here. He was looking at a teaching position in Emporia before he was hired. 

Kent Wiser, current athletic director, said King’s experience with the position made him more than qualified.  

“It was a very good pool,” Wiser said. “We interviewed him and two other guys… All three of them were qualified and good but knowing his work ethic on campus and on the team made him stand out.”

King, as a former kicker on the ESU football team, went 40-40 in point after touchdowns his senior year and was 6-11 in field goal attempts. His wife, Brooke King also works for the school as an admissions counselor.

After his graduation in December 2013, King spent a semester working with special needs students at Emporia Middle School. 

King said he plans on staying in Emporia for the near future. 

“He (Wiser) would be some big shoes to fill, but it would be awesome if I were given the opportunity for the athletic director position,” King said. 

After four years of contributing to ESU on the field, King’s work will still be seen every home game.

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