Penn State names Barbour new AD
College Football Videos
UNIVERSITY PARK — Championing her breadth of experience over three decades as a college administrator, Penn State introduced Sandy Barbour as its new athletic director Saturday.
Barbour — whose identity as the individual succeeding Dave Joyner remained a secret until less than an hour prior to her introduction at a noon Beaver Stadium news conference — becomes the first woman to hold the AD position at Penn State.
“When you spend a professional lifetime serving institutions and most importantly students, you dream of coming to a program like Penn State…” Barbour said.
“Why? Because it represents the opportunity to have it all: Athletic excellence, academic achievement, community engagement and fiscal responsibility.”
Barbour, who last month stepped down after a decade as AD at the University of California-Berkeley, takes the helm of a PSU athletics program that boasts 31 sports and more than 800 athletes — and one whose reputation and finances were tarnished by the Jerry Sandusky scandal less than three years ago.
“We asked a lot of our candidate,” Penn State president Eric Barron said. “And I believe our choice can deliver on all counts.”
The 54-year-old Barbour, who will make an annual base salary of $700,000, will start at Penn State on Aug. 18.
Barron declared Barbour, who was a two-sport athlete at Wake Forest, the “first” and “unanimous” choice of the university's six-person screening committee to approve a replacement for Joyner, who served from November 2011 until announcing last month that he was stepping down.
But it's not a choice that comes without some criticism. Her final academic year at Cal featured the football program not only struggling to a 1-11 record under Barbour's handpicked coach Sonny Dykes, but the NCAA released data that the Golden Bears' team graduation rate of 44 percent was the worst of any major conference program in the country for players who enrolled between 2003-06.
“Ultimately the athletic director is responsible” for that figure, Barbour said. “There's no room around that.”
But Barron, who had hired Collegiate Sports Associates to assist in the national search for the position, said he checked references on Barbour. Barron said he called Cal chancellor Nicholas Dirks, who gave her a glowing endorsement.
“He suggested that Sandy was a champion for the success of the students and that she was actually putting considerable pressure to make sure that the situation improved,” Barron said.
Barbour herself termed Cal's football graduation rate as “unacceptable.” For comparison's sake, Penn State's rate was tied for 12th nationally at almost double California's.
“And that 85 percent graduation rate is going to go to 90,” Barbour predicted.
Another common criticism of Barbour is the significant debt she left the Cal athletic program in – some of which is attributable to a massive and expensive renovation of the Golden Bears' football stadium and training facility.
But Barron brushed that off, saying any administrator who had to deal with the significant budget cuts Barbour did would emerge only after making difficult choices.
Barron instead pointed to Barbour's varied experiences. He also noted that Barbour served in several influential conference and national positions such as the NCAA Leadership Council and the Pac-10's (now Pac-12's) revenue, television and compliance and enforcement committees, among others.
“This tells me that her colleagues and institution respect her judgment,” Barron said. “You've got the full package of experiences.
“Plus, what people said about her: Hard-working. Well-spoken. High level of integrity. ‘We would have done better if we listened to her the first time' – and that description is from the current chancellor at Cal.”
Prior to working at Cal, Barbour was at Notre Dame, serving terms as senior athletic administrator and associate athletic director. She also previously was the athletic director at Tulane and assistant AD at Northwestern.
Football coach James Franklin met with Barbour earlier Saturday morning and attended the news conference. He posed for pictures with her on Beaver Stadium turf – requesting, as is his trademark, that Barbour and Barron hold up a finger for “No. 1” – and smiled and shook the hand of Barbour at the podium before leaving.
Franklin was hired in January with the knowledge he would probably have a new, unknown AD before he had even coached a game.
“I'm just happy that all the pieces of the puzzle are in place and we can continue moving forward and grow,” Franklin said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Officer treated after patrol car hit in Beechview
- Ex-Baldwin, Pitt star Pinkston not giving up on NFL dream
- Motorcyclist killed after striking pole in Penn Township
- John Nash, wife, ‘A Beautiful Mind’ inspiration, die in N.J. taxi crash
- Former pitcher Allie happily adjusting to outfield
- Franchitti keeps Team Ganassi moving heading into Indy 500
- Book details secret to Pirates’ turnaround
- Rossi: Days off are when Pirates’ starters begin winning formula
- Man shot while driving through Liberty Tunnel
- Pa. gaming industry’s growth amplifies siren call for addicts
- Hempfield train crash search called off; no evidence found