Patrick Kraft, the current director of athletics at Boston College, has been named Penn State’s next vice president for intercollegiate athletics/director of athletics by president-elect Neeli Bendapudi.
Kraft, who will succeed Sandy Barbour after she announced she will retire this summer after serving in the role since 2014, 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 in a news release. “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 is an accomplished 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. 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.
“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.”
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.
“In Pat, Penn State has found a leader who inspires teams and enables success through developing and supporting student-athletes and coaches,” said Guy Gadowsky, men’s hockey head coach and member of the search advisory committee. “We found Pat to share our university values and have a high level of integrity and appreciation for family and community — while still bringing the competitive edge and experience needed to bring home wins.”
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.