By: Pasquale Tartaro, GoPSUSports.com
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania – Penn State presented Dr. Patrick Kraft as the next vice president for intercollegiate athletics and director of athletics on Friday.
“It’s a really humbling moment for me,” Kraft said. “It’s a dream come true. It’s hard to leave me speechless, but I feel it right now.”
Kraft’s tenure is scheduled to begin July 1. The former administrator of Boston College and Temple will replace Sandy Barbourwho announced his retirement in March after leading the Nittany Lions athletic department since 2014.
“I wanted someone who understood Penn State’s heritage and understood that we are a place where the student-athlete truly comes first,” President-elect Neeli Bendapudi said. “The Student and Athlete Aspects of Their Life.”
“College sports allow us…to transform the lives of young men and young women,” Kraft said. “I do not take this responsibility lightly.”
Throughout her tenure at Boston College, Kraft had positive impacts such as hiring men’s basketball coach Earl Grant and overseeing the women’s lacrosse team’s national title run – the the Eagles’ first national championship by a women’s team.
Additionally, Kraft has helped Boston College raise more than $80 million. The Eagles also ranked in the top 10 in the nation for overall graduation rate in all sports, with nearly 70% of Boston College student-athletes earning a GPA of 3.00 or better in 2021.
“We wanted a demonstrated record of someone who acts with the highest integrity,” Bendapudi said. “Penn State…is destination work, so we knew we needed an experienced leader.”
Kraft, who spent five years as Temple’s athletic director and occasional linebacker at Indiana, brings familiarity with the Big Ten, as well as experience of what it’s like to be a student-athlete.
“For me, having been a former college student-athlete and as a sports administrator, my passion is for the student-athlete,” Kraft said. “Their experience is paramount. It will all start and end with the student-athlete and their experience here at Penn State.”
Additionally, Kraft’s diverse background includes a doctorate in sports management, stints at Loyola University Chicago and Indiana University, and seven years as an athletic director.
Kraft was one of the nation’s youngest athletic directors when Temple promoted him at age 37 in May 2015. Now he’ll take charge of one of the nation’s largest athletic departments as Penn State sponsors 31 sports.
“We’re 31 strong,” Kraft said of Penn State’s 31 varsity teams. “Don’t worry, I’m here to win. We’re here to win.”
At Boston College, Kraft secured a $15 million donation for a new basketball practice facility and helped raise more than $10 million for athletic scholarships, financial aid and volunteer programs. support.
Additionally, Temple set fundraising records for five consecutive years under Kraft, which helped plan and fundraise $55 million in sports facility construction and renovation projects.
“He’s an accomplished administrator with a 20-year career in intercollegiate athletics,” Bendapudi said. “Someone who led an NCAA Division I program with 31 varsity teams, was a champion of academic excellence and an advocate for coaches and staff.”
“We will be successful with honor,” Kraft said. “And don’t worry now, I’ve told the coaches about it: I’m here to win. I’m here to win. And we’re going to win.”