UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. (WTAJ) — Change is in the air at Penn State. The 35 day process towards finding a new Athletic Director has concluded with the University naming Patrick Kraft as their new AD. Kraft brings a wealth of experience from his time at Temple and Boston College.
Very few people were more excited than Kraft as he was introduced at a press conference on Tuesday. He even went as far as to joke that he got lost in the hotel this morning because he was so hyped. At the press conference Penn State’s new AD stressed the importance of succeeding in all 31 programs, not just football and men’s basketball, but as a former Big Ten football player, he knows how beneficial a good football program can be to all sports.
“When are you going to have the opportunity to bring 107,000 people onto your campus and engage and create memories and so it is a driver.”
When Penn State began searching for a replacement for Sandy Barbour, Penn State Head Coach James Franklin made it clear he wanted an Athletic Director who understands the challenges football faces. That’s exactly what they are getting.
“Nationally it drives the brand, and it helps all the athletic programs,” said Kraft. “You’re helping them with recruiting. Football gameday helps recruiting for all the other sports and I think it starts and then everything else kind of falls in there and Cael has shown it, that it leads to success elsewhere.”
Kraft takes over for Sandy Barbour who will retire at the end of June, said he already has his priority list set for July 1st.
“Where are we at from an NIL perspective, okay what are the issues that we really gotta walk up to from a student athletes welfare perspective, and finances so it gives you a little bit of time, but my goal is July 1 I’m off and running.”
While football is the obvious face of most Power Five schools, Kraft stressed that he wants to continue Penn State’s tradition of winning outside of Beaver Stadium and he is focusing on all 31 programs.
“I’m here to win and we are going to win. We’re going to add to the 80 National Championships and the 303 Conference Championships,” Kraft said. “We will do this with integrity, we’ll do it with hard work, grittiness, toughness, and we’re gonna do it with passion and we are going to have a good time.”
With that commitment to winning, Kraft says he will be having a chat with Wrestling Head Coach Cael Sanderson about how he’s done it so well after winning nine National Championships in 11 years.