News broke yesterday that Penn State very well may have found their next AD: current Boston College AD Patrick Kraft. That leads us to the next question — who exactly is Patrick Kraft? What is Penn State getting in Kraft? Does this guy have ~anything~ to do with the mac and cheese?
Let’s get to the bottom of this.
The Athletic Director at a place like Penn State has to wear a lot of hats, but the most important thing is clear: football. Penn State’s myriad of other non-revenue generating programs are dependent on the football program raking in millions of dollars. Simply put, without a successful football program, the rest of the athletic department would squander.
I don’t mean to look down on any other programs at Penn State, but the next AD — should it be Patrick Kraft — will largely be judged on how good the football program is. If the next person has Penn State Football winning and making real strides as a top-tier program, they’ll likely have job security for as long as they want it. Yes, the other sports are important too, but Big Ten titles in other sports won’t save the day if Penn State is consistently 5-7 or 6-6.
The good news is that Kraft’s background is in football, having played as a walk-on at Indiana. That’s an important piece as James Franklin is certainly looking for someone who will have football as their first, second, and third priority.
Kraft has obviously been the AD at Boston College, but he was also the AD at Temple too. As far as how successful he’s been, that’s always tough to qualify with ADs just because so much of their job is things you don’t see or recognize. The other difficult part with Kraft is that his stops have been relatively short — especially at Boston College. He was only in Chestnut Hill for less than two years, and a big stretch of that was dealing with COVID. So it’s really tough to judge Kraft on what he accomplished at Boston College just because of a lack of time.
Pete Thamel says he has “forged” a strong relationship with Jeff Hafley, but yet he wasn’t the one that hired him. BC broke ground on a new basketball practice facility, but that process of raising money and securing donations goes well beyond July 2020. He hired BC’s new basketball coach Earl Grant, who just finished his first season with the Golden Eagles — hardly enough time to know whether or nor that was a good move.
We get a better idea with Temple, where he was from 2015-2020; though his hires ran hot and cold. Geoff Collins: good! Rod Carey: really bad! Aaron McKie: so-so at best! Obviously hires are just a piece to the puzzle, and he did seem to fundraise well at Temple, though like I said before: it’s difficult to put context to the whole “raising money” piece.
MAC AND CHEESE??
Nope, no ties.
All-in-all, I think Kraft is a solid hire. Young guy that is clearly well-respected in the industry, but you just hope that he sees Penn State as a longer term stop where he can truly leave his mark. There’s a lot to be done with Penn State when it comes to football facilities, figuring out a more coherent NIL plan, and overwatching 30+ sports teams. It’s an intriguing job for sure as one of the top jobs in the Big Ten, but it’s also one that isn’t as simple as you walk in and keep the status quo. Changes need to be made, so I’m interested to hear more from Kraft on what his plan will be.