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May 25, 2022

Patrick Kraft named next Penn State vice president for Intercollegiate Athletics 

 

Kraft, current director of athletics at Boston College, will begin new role on July 1

 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Patrick Kraft, the William V. Campbell Director of Athletics at Boston College, has been named Penn State’s next vice president for Intercollegiate Athletics/director of athletics by President-elect Neeli Bendapudi. Kraft, a respected leader with a demonstrated record of success and commitment to students and coaches, will assume the role on July 1.
“I am thrilled to welcome Pat Kraft and his family — Betsy, Annabelle and Joseph — to the Penn State family. He is an exceptional and inspiring leader with the vision, experience and drive to excel in this role and to build upon our tradition of intercollegiate athletic success,” Bendapudi said. “Along with having a bold vision for excellence and an impressive record of achievement, Pat values teamwork and cares above all about the success and development of student-athletes and coaches on and off the field. With Pat at the helm of our athletics department, the possibilities of what we can accomplish ahead are unlimited.”

 

Kraft is an accomplished administrator with a 15-year career in intercollegiate athletics that includes leadership roles at Boston College, Temple University, Loyola University Chicago and Indiana University. Since 2020, Kraft has led Boston College’s NCAA Division I program with 31 varsity teams and been a champion for academic excellence and an advocate for coaches and staff. Under his leadership, the women’s lacrosse team won its first NCAA championship, the sixth in Boston College’s history and the first women’s NCAA title for the school. In the classroom, Boston College student-athletes set national records for cumulative GPAs and graduation rates. Throughout his career, Kraft has also taught business and sports marketing and management, and is a former college football student-athlete.

 

Kraft’s appointment, approved by the Penn State Board of Trustees Subcommittee on Compensation during a meeting on April 29, follows a national search led by Bendapudi with consultative support from a search advisory committee with student-athlete, coach, faculty, staff and administrative representatives. Kraft will succeed Sandy Barbour, who announced she will retire this summer after serving in the role since 2014.

 

“This is a special opportunity, and I am incredibly honored to join Penn State’s best-in-class athletics program. I am appreciative of President-elect Bendapudi for her support and invitation to come back to Pennsylvania to be part of the Penn State family,” Kraft said. “In the coming months, I am so excited to meet the community and to begin to work alongside Penn State’s talented student-athletes and dedicated coaches and staff to uphold and advance excellence for Penn State. The University is world class, rich with tradition and has passionate fan support, and we will never stray from what has made the program great. My focus will be to provide the best experience for our student-athletes and staff, continue to grow our sports programs, and to enhance the best atmosphere in the Big Ten for our community and fans.”

 

Kraft will play a critical role at the head of Penn State’s NCAA Division I athletics program — consisting of 31 varsity sports and more than 800 student-athletes and 340 staff — and provide strategic direction and oversight for all aspects of the department.

 

“In Pat, Penn State has found a leader who inspires teams and enables success through developing and supporting student-athletes and coaches,” said Guy Gadowsky, men’s ice hockey head coach and member of the search advisory committee. “We found Pat to share our University values and have a high level of integrity and appreciation for family and community — while still bringing the competitive edge and experience needed to bring home wins.”

 

Since 2020, in his current role as director of athletics at Boston College, Kraft has led the Division I program with approximately 700 student-athletes and 215 coaches and staff. Among top accomplishments under his leadership:

 

  • 70% of all student-athletes earned a GPA of 3.00 or better in fall and spring 2021; the college ranked top 10 in the nation in overall graduation success rate in all sports, among football bowl subdivision (FBS) schools; and 455 student-athletes finished the 2020-21 academic year with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.
  • The college earned its sixth NCAA team championship and the first for the women’s lacrosse team, the first postseason victory for volleyball, and two bowl game qualifications for the football program, among other highlights.
  • Five teams ranked in the top 25 nationally, including lacrosse, men’s hockey, baseball, field hockey and women’s hockey.
  • The college met fundraising goals to support efforts for a future practice facility for men’s and women’s basketball programs, fully endow head coach positions for ski and women’s ice hockey, support athletics scholarships and financial aid, and more. He led over $80 million in fundraising and completed more than 11 capital projects.
  • The Student-Athlete Academic Advising space was renovated to support student-athletes in their pursuit of academic excellence, and construction is underway on the Barry Gallup Sports Medicine Facility, which will offer a state-of-the-art saltwater therapy room, new hydrotherapy pools, and rehab and recovery spaces.
  • Student support offerings were expanded to include new mental health and reporting resources.
  • The college entered into a new apparel and footwear partnership, the largest financial footwear and apparel agreement in Boston College Athletics history.

 

“In the ever-changing landscape of college athletics, Pat has proven to be a bold leader, whose mindset and ability to adapt is as important as ever. It is clear to me that Pat embraces the proud tradition of Penn State and our 31 athletic programs. Pat’s background as a Big Ten college football player has helped mold his understanding of how impactful a successful football program can be for the entire University and community,” said James Franklin, head football coach.

 

Prior to his tenure at Boston College, Kraft served as the director of intercollegiate athletics at Temple University following a term as the university’s deputy athletic director, as executive senior associate athletic director at Loyola University Chicago, and as senior assistant athletic director for marketing at Indiana University, his alma mater, where he played football from 1997 to 1999. He also was a clinical professor in the School of Business Administration at Loyola University Chicago and associate instructor in sport marketing and sport management at Indiana University.

 

“It was a pleasure to serve the University on the search advisory committee to help President-elect Bendapudi identify the best individual to lead the future of Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics,” said Dennis Scanlon, Distinguished Professor of Health Policy and Administration, NCAA faculty athletics representative, and director of the Center for Health Care and Policy Research. “It did not take long to realize that Pat cares deeply about the student-athlete experience, is committed to academic excellence, and understands the changing environment of intercollegiate athletics nationally.”

 

During his seven years at Temple, Kraft oversaw a department of 180 employees with 19 sports and more than 500 student-athletes. He was responsible for all facets of athletics administration, including academics, NCAA Title IX compliance, diversity and finances, and led the hiring of new head coaches in football, men’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, and field hockey. Along with significant program milestones for women’s lacrosse, fencing, gymnastics, men’s crew and women’s rowing under Kraft’s leadership, the football team won the 2016 American Athletic Conference Championship (AAC) and made five-straight bowl appearances for the first time in school history, the men’s basketball team won the 2015-16 regular season AAC title, and the women’s basketball team made the 2017 NCAA Tournament for the first time in five years.

 

With a focus on student-athlete academic performance, career development and mental health, at Temple, Kraft also led an effort to improve classroom performance that resulted in an NCAA Academic Performance Rate that ranked fourth among Division I FBS institutions in 2018-19, followed by a school record 90% graduation success rate for 2019. He also oversaw planning and fundraising efforts for more than $55 million in construction and renovation projects, including the Temple Sports Complex for men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, and track and field, as well as enhancements to locker room facilities for all 19 sports, an all student-athlete lounge, multiple student-athlete nutrition centers and updated practice facilities for several sports.

 

Kraft is a current or former member of several committees, including the NCAA Football Oversight Committee, NCAA Football Competition Committee, NCAA Women’s Basketball Committee, NCAA Strategic Vision and Planning Committee, LEAD1 working group on student-athlete time demands, Collegiate Athletic Leadership Symposium faculty member and American Athletic Conference finance committee. He served as vice chair of the Athletic Directors of the American Athletic Conference and has been an invited speaker at the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics annual convention.

 

Kraft has been recognized by Sports Business Journal as “one of the top 40 sports executives under the age of 40” and the Philadelphia Business Journal as “one of the top Business Executives in Philadelphia under the age of 40.” His scholarly work has been published in the International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, Sport Marketing Quarterly, and Branding in Sport Business.

 

Originally from Illinois, Kraft earned a bachelor’s degree in sport marketing management, master’s degree in sport marketing administration and doctoral degree in sport management, all from Indiana University.

 

The vice president for Intercollegiate Athletics’ salary was approved by the Board of Trustees Subcommittee on Compensation and the terms of the contract are available online.

 

In its history, Penn State has won 80 national team championships and 118 Big Ten championships, while off the field, Penn State student-athletes consistently excel academically and have record graduation rates.

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