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Sandy Barbour Named Sports Business Journal’s Athletic Director Of The Year

Penn State’s outgoing Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour was named the Sports Business Journal’s Athletic Director of the Year Wednesday night.

“This is a team award,” Barbour said in the SBJ’s announcement. “None of us do any of this alone…It really didn’t feel like it was work.”

Barbour was one of five finalists, winning the award over Lisa Campos (University of Texas at San Antonio), Sean Frazier (Northern Illinois University), Tom Holmoe (Brigham Young University), and Hunter Yurachek (University of Arkansas). This marks Barbour’s first win, after previously earning nominations in 2009 and 2018.

The SBJ’s award recognizes excellence of athletic directors over the 2020-2021 academic year. Penn State’s academic, financial, and athletic success, combined with Barbour’s leadership and role as chair of the NCAA’s Football Oversight Committee, gave her the edge.

The competitive success of Penn State Athletics was marked by conference or tournament championship wins by wrestling, women’s soccer, men’s soccer, women’s hockey, and men’s volleyball in the 2021 calendar year. Five Nittany Lions also won individual national championships.

Elsewhere, Barbour’s fundraising efforts secured millions in funding for field hockey’s stadium renovations, and the basketball program’s facilities were noted as key factors in her win. Barbour also successfully negotiated football head coach James Franklin’s 10-year contract extension and hired head coaches Micah Shrewsberry and Katie Schumacher-Cawley of men’s basketball and women’s volleyball, respectively.

In addition to raising $166 million in revenue (the nation’s ninth-highest total) and over $50 million in donations, Penn State Athletics saw a university record-tying 92% of its athletes graduate, as well as all 31 sports boasting team GPAs of 3.0 or higher.

After previously announcing her retirement in March, Barbour will officially conclude her 41-year career on July 1. Patrick Kraft, formerly of Boston College, will take over as Penn State’s Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics.

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About the Author

Sam Fremin

Sam is a senior from Ashburn, Virginia, majoring in journalism and political science & minoring in German and creative writing. He is a Dallas Cowboys fan who relishes the misery of Eagles fans. All hate messages can be sent to [email protected] or @SamFremin on Twitter.

He may or may not read every single comment he gets.

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