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Volume 23 No. 17
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Forty Under 40: Patrick Kraft


COURTESY OF TEMPLE UNIVERSITY
Patrick Kraft walked on and eventually earned a scholarship playing football at Indiana University, but as befits one of the youngest Division I athletic directors in America, it was also during his undergraduate years that he got hooked on the commercial side of sports.

It was a powerful enough attraction that Kraft went on to earn three degrees in sports management. “I was set on being an AD,” he said.

His working career began with the AFL Chicago Rush. Not wanting to be typecast as a “football guy,” he next took a job as business development director for the national governing body of synchronized swimming. But the academic ties remained. He taught sports management and went on to hold administrative positions at both Loyola and back at IU before coming to Temple in 2013 as part of a trio of former IU administrators: Neil Theobald as the 37,000-student Philadelphia school’s new president; Kevin Clark as AD; and Kraft, at the time, as deputy AD.

Among the deals engineered during what Kraft termed “a complete rebuild” were a Learfield multimedia rights partnership that was an increase in value of more than 200 percent. More recently, last year brought a 10-year renewal with Under Armour that marked a 500 percent increase. “Pat’s personable, energetic and totally committed,’’ said American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco. “He’s got great buy-in from his president, and they all share a great vision of what Temple is and what it can be.”

Kraft, who took the AD reins last May, gets high marks for increasing fan engagement. Accordingly, athletics donations are up. There’s also an on-campus building boom, including a complex to house lacrosse, track and field, field hockey, and soccer. Next up are formative plans for a 35,000-seat on-campus football stadium. The Owls now play football at the other end of Broad Street, at Lincoln Financial Field.

“We’re the 26th-largest university in the country,” Kraft said. “Now we’re really starting to change the culture and show people how good this place is and can be.”

— Terry Lefton

Patrick Kraft

Temple University | Athletic Director
Age: 38
Where born: Lake Forest, Ill.
Education: Indiana University (B.A., sports marketing management; M.S., athletic administration; Ph.D., sports management)
Family: Wife, Betsy; children, Annabelle (2), Joseph (2 months)

Advice I’d give to my younger self: Remember to take the time to enjoy the simple pleasures in life.
2016 will be a good year if: Temple continues its red-hot momentum.
Person in the industry I’d like to meet: Mark Cuban.

I’d like to change jobs for a day with: Coach Ditka on Jan. 26, 1986: Super Bowl XX champions, Chicago Bears.
Groups supported: House of Charity for the Diocese of Camden County, N.J.; American Cancer Society.
Most thrilling/adventurous thing I’ve done: White-water rafting with my family in Oregon, which included cliff jumping. I don’t like heights.
You’d be surprised to know: I played Pumbaa from “The Lion King” in my high school variety show.