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Penn State Hires Phil Esten as Deputy Director Of Athletics

Athletic director Sandy Barbour announced the hiring of former colleague Dr. Phil Esten as Penn State’s Deputy Director of Athletics and Chief Operating Officer for Intercollegiate Athletics today. Esten served the past two years under Barbour at the University of California under the same title, where he was charged with generating key financial resources to support Cal’s athletic program.

“We are thrilled to have Phil joining our team,” said Barbour in a press release. “Phil brings an outstanding depth and breadth of experience to Penn State, including extensive campus involvement outside of athletics. He has a high level of experience with the external functions of a broad-based athletic department and will be a great fit for Penn State and our team.”

According to the release, Esten will work closely with Barbour on the day-to-day operations of Penn State’s 31-sport athletic program. He will oversee the leadership of Penn State’s athletic development, marketing, communications, and facilities and event management, as well as supervise several intercollegiate programs.

Prior to Cal, Esten was President and CEO of the University of Minnesota Alumni Association and Associate Athletic Director at Minnesota for six years. At Minnesota, he was the point person for the school’s new on-campus football stadium, TCF Bank Stadium, helping raise $90 million in individual and corporate support. During his tenure, he helped raise $45 million for academic programs.

He also worked as the Assistant Director of Athletic Ticketing and Events at Ohio State from 1997-2000.

Esten grew up in LaCrosse, Wisconsin and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, where he also played baseball. He continued his education in the Big Ten, earning a master’s in sport management at Ohio State and his doctorate in kinesiology from Minnesota. He and his wife, Dani, have three children: Lucas, Cooper and Hannah.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to serve Penn State in this capacity and to have the pleasure of again working with Sandy and her team,” Esten said. “Penn State is uniquely positioned to provide outstanding experiences for its student-athletes, both in competition and the classroom. There is great momentum in Happy Valley and I’m ready to dive in as we look to provide the very best conditions for success for our student-athletes while serving the Penn State alumni, donors, fans and greater University community in a meaningful way.”

About the Author

CJ Doon

CJ is a senior journalism major from Long Island and Onward State's Sports Editor. He is a third-generation Penn Stater, and his grandfather wrestled for the university back in the 1930s under coach Charlie “Doc” Speidel. Besides writing, one of his favorite activities is making sea puns. You can follow him on Twitter @CJDoon, and send your best puns to [email protected], just for the halibut.

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