Penn State has named Patrick Kraft as its new athletic director, bringing the former Boston College and Temple administrator to run a $165 million department that could be in the market for a new football stadium soon.
The Compensation Subcommittee of Penn State’s Board of Trustees approved Kraft’s hiring Friday. He will replace Sandy Barbour, who is retiring after eight years as athletic director. Kraft’s five-year term begins July 1.
According to his term sheet, Kraft will make an annual base salary of $750,000 with additional compensation starting at $500,000 this year and reaching $660,000 in his final year. Among the contract’s incentives, Kraft will receive $50,000 if Penn State wins the men or women’s basketball teams play in the NCAA Final Four or a New Year’s Six bowl game; $50,000 if Penn State wins the Learfield Directors’ Cup; and $100,000 if Penn State plays in a College Football Playoff semifinal game.
“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,” Neeli Bendapudi, Penn State’s President-elect, said in a statement. “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 brings a varied resume to Penn State, which includes a Ph.D in sport management, stops at Loyola University Chicago and Indiana University and seven years as an athletic director. He spent less than two at Boston College, having arrived in July 2020, before taking over one of the nation’s largest athletic departments at Penn State.
What should Penn State fans know about Kraft? Here’s a look at his some of his positions and accomplishments.
he loves football
Kraft joined the Indiana football team as a walk-on before earning a scholarship. At Temple, he helped oversee the mid-2010s football renaissance that included a 2016 AAC championship and five consecutive bowl appearances for the first time in school history.
“He is a football guy and he gets football, and from my perspective that was real fun to be part of,” former Temple football coach Rod Carey told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2020, after Kraft accepted the position at Boston College.
Kraft and Matt Rhule are good friends
Rhule, the Carolina Panthers head coach and former Temple coach, likely had some input into Kraft’s decision. The two became close during their time at Temple, which helped progress the football revival. Rhule, of course, played at Penn State.
After Rhule left Temple for Baylor in 2016, Kraft told reporters, “I love Matt Rhule. Matt and I are good friends, and I said I wanted him to make the right decision for his family and for him, and I thanked him for all he did for this program.”
Kraft hired three football coaches at Temple, including Manny Diaz
At Penn State, Kraft will reunite with defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, with whom he worked briefly at Temple. In 2018, Kraft hired Diaz to replace Geoff Collins, a relationship that lasted 18 days until Diaz left for Miami.
He’s been a rising star for a while
In 2016, Sports Business Journal named Kraft to its “40 under 40” list of the top young professionals in sports. The piece focused on how Kraft helped to overhaul Temple’s athletic department in a short time.
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“Among the deals engineered during what Kraft termed ‘a complete rebuild’ [at Temple] were a Learfield multimedia rights partnership that was an increase in value of more than 200 percent,” SBJ wrote. “More recently, last year brought a 10-year renewal with Under Armor that marked a 500 percent increase.”
He has lobbied for a new football stadium before
Kraft led the charge for Temple to build an on-campus stadium, using Temple’s win over Penn State in 2015 as a launch pad for marketing and fundraising.
“If it was up to myself, I’d be out there shoveling right now,” Kraft told the Associated Press in 2015.
Just something to keep in mind as Penn State debates what to do with Beaver Stadium.
- According to his Boston College bio, Kraft secured a $15 million gift for a new basketball practice facility. He also helped raised more than $10 million for athletics scholarships, financial aid, and support programs.
- He brokered a 10-year apparel and shoe partnership with New Balance, the largest in school history. Boston College was the only FBS school with a football-only apparel and shoe deal.
- At Temple, Kraft led planned and fundraised for $55 million in construction and renovation projects at athletics facilities.
- Temple set fundraising records for five consecutive years under Kraft.
“Pat Kraft had an extremely brief tenure at Boston College but got a lot done in that time,” said AJ Black, who covers Boston College for the
FanNation website BC Bulletin
. “He secured funding for a practice facility for the basketball team, something that has been sorely lacking for the Eagles, and he let go of flooding basketball coach Jim Christian in a decisive manner and hired a relatively unknown Earl Grant to replace him. While it was only one year, Grant has taken some big steps in turning around a BC program that has laid dormant for over a decade. In addition, Kraft added deals with New Balance and Adidas, which brought in two new revenue sources to the program. Again it was only a brief period, but Kraft showed all the traits of what would have been a successful AD.”
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