After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 1994, Kingston spent 15 years in the military.
While it is not a traditional route, it certainly made an impression on a number of people at Bowling Green. One of those people was Kingston, who remembered his time in the Army fondly.
“The Army always took care of me: They put a roof over my head and food on my table,” he said. “I was jumping out of airplanes for a living – I made 107 jumps, and it’s the best natural high that I know of. I fell in love with what I was doing.
“I commanded an airborne company, and then I went to West Point.”
Kingston went to the U.S. Military Academy in 2003 to serve as a tactical officer for the corps of cadets, and that's when his life changed.
“Something happened at West Point, when I was one of seven active-duty military people in the athletic department,” Kingston said. “I had sports and soldiers -- and nobody had it better than me.”
In 2006 he started working in the athletics department, serving as associate director for operations, then becoming the school's director of annual giving.
Even though he retired from the military in 2009, that background had an impact on university president Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey as well as the search committee.
“He has worked at a lot of different capacities in the military, and that shows me he has great leadership skills and he has great management skills," Mazey said. "He knows how to lead a large group of people –- as I remember, he led a group of 350 paratroopers.”
Sheri Stoll, the school's vice-president of finance and administration, and chair of the search committee, said Kingston's status as a veteran also caught her attention.
“He trained as a paratrooper, and he’s accustomed to adversity and challenges," she said of Kingston. “He understands teams and leadership, and those all caught our attention initially.”
Kingston said he sees a correlation between his tenure in the military and his role as an athletic administrator.
“My experiences in the military are so compatible to what you do in athletics, it’s unbelievable,” he said. “I’ve been responsible for millions of dollars in budgets -- and people’s lives -- since I was 22 years old.
“It’s about two things: Management and leadership. And they have to go together. I’ve been doing that as a staff officer, as a platoon leader, as a company commander. … I retired after 15 years in the military because of a medical retirement, so there’s a new chapter in my life.”
And he used a military analogy to explain why he was interested in the job at Bowling Green.
“People might take a job as an athletics director just to be an athletics director,” Kingston said. “There are places that don’t have money -- and have no way of getting money. And there are places that have no facilities -- and have no way of getting facilities.
“That is not the case here. We’re cresting the hill here. I’m excited about the infrastructure that’s in place, the leadership, the vision. It’s a fabulous opportunity.”