After reports came out earlier this week that Boston College A.D. Patrick Kraft would be taking the same position with Penn State, the Board of Trustees confirmed that those reports were true by approving the hire of Kraft to take over as the next Penn State Athletic Director.
Kraft is taking over for Sandy Barbour, who was Penn State’s A.D. from 2014-2022. Barbour, who is 62 years old, is retiring at the end of her term this summer with Kraft now taking over immediately after. Kraft’s arrival is another signal of change at Penn State, as the Nittany Lions will be breaking in a new president — Dr. Neeli Bendapudi — as well.
Kraft comes to Penn State after serving as the A.D. at Temple from 2015-2020 and then Boston College from 2020-2022. Now he’ll be directed to lead one of the largest athletic departments in the country — one that sponsors to the tune of 31 sports. Some of the immediate focuses aren’t things that are necessarily specific to Penn State — like figuring out a more coherent NIL plan for all student-athletes. But with the Nittany Lions, he does face some unique challenges, whether it’s what to do with Beaver Stadium or just simply continuing to mend what is a fractured donor base following all that happened with Joe Paterno and the previous administration.
I said it earlier this week and I will say it again: the A.D. position at Penn State is a very intriguing job. But it’s also one with some very specific, unique challenges. It’s a supremely large department with the aforementioned 31 sports, which is an added complications when it comes to NIL matters. Penn State has a massive alumni base that is rabid about the school, but yet has struggled in recent times when it comes to raising money for facility upgrades. So the opportunity is here for Kraft to make a massive impact, it’s just a matter of pulling the right strings are the correct times.