STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WTAJ) — Penn State has named its next Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics/director of athletics, Patrick Kraft, President-elect Neeli Bendapudi announced Friday.

Kraft was the William V Campbell Director of Athletics at Boston College before accepting his new position here in Central Pennsylvania. He will assume the role on July 1.    

“I am thrilled to welcome Pat Kraft and his family — Betsy, Annabelle and Joseph — to the Penn State family. 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,” Bendapudi said. “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.” 

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WHO IS PATRICK KRAFT?

Kraft is an administrator with a 15-year career in intercollegiate athletics that includes leadership roles at Boston College, Temple University, Loyola University Chicago and Indiana University. Since 2020, Kraft has led Boston College’s NCAA Division I program with 31 varsity teams and been a champion for academic excellence and an advocate for coaches and staff.

Under his leadership, the women’s lacrosse team won its first NCAA championship, the sixth in Boston College’s history and the first women’s NCAA title for the school. In the classroom, Boston College student-athletes set national records for cumulative GPAs and graduation rates.

Throughout his career, Kraft has also taught business and sports marketing and management, and is a former college football student-athlete. 

Kraft’s appointment, approved by the Penn State Board of Trustees Subcommittee on Compensation during a meeting on April 29, follows a national search led by Bendapudi with consultative support from a search advisory committee with student-athlete, coach, faculty, staff and administrative representatives. Kraft will succeed Sandy Barbour, who announced she will retire this summer after serving in the role since 2014.   

“This is a special opportunity, and I am incredibly honored to join Penn State’s best-in-class athletics program. I am appreciative of President-elect Bendapudi for her support and invitation to come back to Pennsylvania to be part of the Penn State family,” Kraft said.

“In the coming months, I am so excited to meet the community and to begin to work alongside Penn State’s talented student-athletes and dedicated coaches and staff to uphold and advance excellence for Penn State. The University is world class, rich with tradition and has passionate fan support, and we will never stray from what has made the program great. My focus will be to provide the best experience for our student-athletes and staff, continue to grow our sports programs, and to enhance the best atmosphere in the Big Ten for our community and fans.” 

-Patrick Kraft

Kraft will play a critical role at the head of Penn State’s NCAA Division I athletics program — consisting of 31 varsity sports and more than 800 student-athletes and 340 staff — and provide strategic direction and oversight for all aspects of the department.  

Since 2020, in his current role as director of athletics at Boston College, Kraft has led the Division I program with approximately 700 student-athletes and 215 coaches and staff. 

Among top accomplishments under his leadership, according to Penn State’s release:  

  • 70% of all student-athletes earned a GPA of 3.00 or better in fall and spring 2021; the college ranked top 10 in the nation in overall graduation success rate in all sports, among football bowl subdivision (FBS) schools; and 455 student-athletes finished the 2020-21 academic year with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. 
  • The college earned its sixth NCAA team championship and the first for the women’s lacrosse team, the first postseason victory for volleyball, and two bowl game qualifications for the football program, among other highlights.  
  • Five teams ranked in the top 25 nationally, including lacrosse, men’s hockey, baseball, field hockey and women’s hockey. 
  • The college met fundraising goals to support efforts for a future practice facility for men’s and women’s basketball programs, fully endow head coach positions for ski and women’s ice hockey, support athletics scholarships and financial aid, and more. He led over $80 million in fundraising and completed more than 11 capital projects.  
  • The Student-Athlete Academic Advising space was renovated to support student-athletes in their pursuit of academic excellence, and construction is underway on the Barry Gallup Sports Medicine Facility, which will offer a state-of-the-art saltwater therapy room, new hydrotherapy pools, and rehab and recovery spaces. 
  • Student support offerings were expanded to include new mental health and reporting resources.  
  • The college entered into a new apparel and footwear partnership, the largest financial footwear and apparel agreement in Boston College Athletics history. 

Prior to his tenure at Boston College, Kraft served as the director of intercollegiate athletics at Temple University following a term as the university’s deputy athletic director, as executive senior associate athletic director at Loyola University Chicago, and as senior assistant athletic director for marketing at Indiana University, his alma mater, where he played football from 1997 to 1999.