SBD/July 28, 2014/Colleges

Barbour Becomes Penn State's First Female AD, But Hiring Is Not Without Controversy

Penn State on Saturday announced the hiring of former Cal AD Sandy Barbour to the same position after a "national search that began just four weeks ago," according to Travis Johnson of the CENTRE DAILY TIMES. Barbour will replace Dave Joyner on Aug. 18. PSU President Eric Barron said Barbour was the screening committee's "first" and "unanimous" choice. She was given a "five-year contract that will pay her $700,000 in base salary annually with a $100,000 retention bonus and another bonus of $100,000 for meeting performance goals" (CENTRE DAILY TIMES, 7/27).

PENN STATE ATHLETIC DIRECTOR SEARCH COMMITTEE
NAME
TITLE
David Gray (committee chair)
Senior VP/Finance & Business
Linda Caldwell
Professor and Faculty Athletics Rep
Julie Del Giorno
Athletics Integrity Officer
Charmelle Green
Associate AD & Senior Woman Administrator
Robert Pangborn VP and Dean for Undergraduate Education
Tom Poole VP/Administration
Coquese Washington Women's basketball coach
   

NOT WITHOUT CONTROVERSY
: In the PSU student newspaper, Michael Kilcoyne noted Barbour's move is "a sort of coming home,"  as she "grew up in Maryland and declared herself an 'East Coaster.'" Barbour said that she "loves the 'We Are Penn State' chant and realized it is deeper than words and stands for family." But Kilcoyne noted while it was a "positive day in the press conference, questions about the hire have already surfaced due to Barbour's resume." Cal football's graduation rate last year was 44%, and Barron said that the committee "took the issue into account and he called the chancellor at Cal to discuss the dilemma." Barbour said that she "learned from the problem and her lessons she gained will benefit Penn State" (DAILY COLLEGIAN, 7/27). Barbour said that she had "no idea this opportunity would present itself when she stepped down last month at Cal." She added that the "prestige of the position alone initially drew her interest." But ESPN.com's Moyer & McMurphy noted the hire "isn't without its controversy." Although she spearheaded the construction of a new training facility and oversaw football stadium renovations, Cal's football team graduation success rate last fall "was ranked as the worst among 72 major-conference programs." Men's basketball "wasn't any better" (ESPN.com, 7/26). Barbour said that she stayed at Cal "too long." Barbour: "We did a lot of things; some of them well-received, some of them not so well-received. Ultimately, it's about having stayed too long. But it's because I'm loyal." In Pennsylvania, Mark Wogenrich noted Barbour's hiring is a "departure for Penn State, which hasn't hired an athletic director from outside the university" since '52. Barbour will take over "12 days before the football team opens the season in Ireland." Barron said that Joyner will "remain as athletic director until then" (Allentown MORNING CALL, 7/27).


MOVING ON: Barron called Barbour someone with a "full set of experiences." In Philadelphia, Kristen Nelson noted Barbour "emphasized the importance of family and unity, both of which she identified as key attributes of the Penn State community." But her "questionable legacy" at Cal "did not go unnoticed" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/27). In Pittsburgh, Chris Adamski wrote if Barbour's tenure is "half as successful as the secretive manner in which she was hired -- almost unbelievably, word of the choice to succeed Dave Joyner did not leak until about an hour before her introductory press conference -- Penn Staters will be proud" (TRIBLIVE.com, 7/27). In Pennsylvania, Travis Johnson noted "more than two dozen Penn State athletics employees attended her press conference," all of them "showing their approval of Barbour’s lengthy opening statement with a round of applause." She is "taking over one of college athletics’ only consistently self-sustaining athletic enterprises." Though PSU reported a $6M deficit for '12-13, Barbour believes her "business acumen will serve as a valuable resource." She plans to "use the next three weeks to relocate" from California (CENTRE DAILY TIMES, 7/27).

THROWING A CHANGE-UP: In Pittsburgh, Mark Dent wrote under the header, "Penn State Athletics Remain In Flux." In terms of "operations and in terms of personnel, it's not 2011 anymore, for better or worse." Dent: "Scan the current staff directory, and you'll notice significant differences in the coaching staff and particularly in the upper-level administrator positions" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 7/27). The PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW's Adamski noted Barron hired Collegiate Sports Associates to "assist in the national search" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 7/27). The PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE's Dent noted Barbour "takes control of an athletic department that has been successful but still familiar with unrest from fans and financial trouble." Her salary is "nearly twice what Joyner made ($396,000) and places her in the top quartile for athletic directors nationally and fifth in the Big Ten." But she "faces substantial challenges." PSU has "experienced declining attendance at football games and criticism from fans, and the athletic department is scheduled to take out" $90M in loans from the university "over the next few years" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 7/27).

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