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Penn State

Former Penn State athletic director Jim Tarman dies

| Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018, 7:03 p.m.
Jim Tarman, former Penn State athletic director
Penn State athletics
Jim Tarman, former Penn State athletic director

Jim Tarman, a former athletic director at Penn State who led many of the school's teams to national recognition, died at age 89.

The university said he died Sunday in State College.

Tarman joined Penn State as sports publicity director in 1958. In 1982, he was promoted to athletic director. He held the position until his retirement in 1993.

“The Penn State athletics family is saddened with the passing of Jim Tarman,” Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour said in a statement. “Jim was a passionate, dedicated and, obviously, highly influential member of the Intercollegiate Athletics and university staff for more than 35 years. Jim played a significant role in the growth of our athletic program, including leading our women's programs into NCAA competition, new and improved facilities for student-athletes and, of course, our invitation and transition into the Big Ten Conference. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Tarman family and all of Jim's friends and colleagues at Penn State and throughout the nation.”

The college won six national championships in football, lacrosse and fencing under Tarman, including football titles in 1982 and '86. He also is credited with overseeing the school's move into the Big Ten.

“I am saddened to hear of the loss of former Penn State athletic director Jim Tarman,” Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said in a statement. “Jim was a good friend and respected colleague who made a lasting impact on the Penn State community during his 36-year tenure in the athletics department, including the integral role he played in leading Penn State's transition into the Big Ten Conference. Our thoughts are with his family, and the entire Penn State community, during this difficult time.”

Tarman is survived by his wife, two sons and a grandchild.

His funeral will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Grace Lutheran Church in State College.

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