Associate athletic director Bortner to retire

September 15, 2015

­UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- After more than 35 years as a Penn State student-athlete, coach and administrator, Jan Bortner, associate athletic director for student-athlete success, has announced he will retire on Sept. 30. 

During his 10 years as an administrator, four programs Bortner worked with won a combined 10 NCAA championships -- men’s and women’s fencing, men’s gymnastics, men’s volleyball and wrestling. The Nittany Lions also won a combined 11 Big Ten championships and tournament titles and 10 consecutive EIVA men’s volleyball crowns among the 16 programs he worked with as an administrator.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to represent this great athletic department, and I have always felt incredibly blessed to be a student-athlete, volunteer coach, head coach and administrator at Penn State,” stated Bortner, who moved into athletic administration in September 2005. “I love Penn State Athletics: the passion, the pride, the spirit, the tradition, the history, the success, the class, but most of all, the people. We have some great people in our intercollegiate athletics department who understand what is most important, making a difference in the lives of our student-athletes and supporting each other along the way.”

For nearly 33 years, Bortner has been among the Nittany Lion athletic department’s most perpetually positive, dedicated and respected members. He was one of the primary founders and guiding forces of TEAM ICA (Together Everyone Achieves More), organizing social activities and department events to support Penn State teams en masse when they are competing.

“Jan Bortner represents, at such a high level, all that is right and good about Penn State,” said Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour. “He is a selfless leader who always put Penn State first, particularly our student-athletes.  But, most importantly, Jan is a man of high character and integrity who leads with his heart. I’m personally and professionally sad to see him retire, as he has always been such a critical part of shaping who Penn State Athletics is, as well as being a key cog in our successes.  We will all miss his positivity, enduring smile and his Penn State Pride, on an everyday basis. We wish he and Laraine nothing but health and happiness as they focus on family.”

A four-year participant in the NCAA men’s tennis championships as a student-athlete, Bortner succeeded long-time Penn State men’s tennis mentor Holmes Cathrall as head coach in 1990 after a highly-successful stint as the women’s head coach. Bortner earned a 199-159 record and led the Penn men’s program to its first NCAA tournament victory during his tenure from 1990-2005. He ranks second to Cathrall (280) in coaching wins in program history.

Prior to becoming the men's head coach, Bortner posted a 125-45 mark as the Penn State head women's tennis coach from 1982 to 1990, including seven Atlantic-10 Conference titles in eight years and the 1986 Eastern Region crown. Bortner is the winningest coach in program history. His combined record as a Penn State head coach was 324-204.

Bortner was the 1989 and 1996 Eastern Region Intercollegiate Tennis Association Coach of the Year and was the Atlantic-10 Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year twice. He coached eight All-Big Ten performers in his career. During his tenure, the Nittany Lion tennis teams consistently compiled a 3.2 grade point average or higher and an NCAA graduation rate of 95 percent or better.

As a Nittany Lion student-athlete, Bortner was a four-year letter winner and three-year starter at No. 1 singles. He won the ECAC singles title in 1973 and 1975. Bortner participated in the NCAA championship from 1972-75 and advanced as far as the NCAA quarterfinals.

Bortner also was an instructor in the exercise and sport science department (now the Department of Kinesiology). Among the committees he has served on are: the Big Ten Sport Management Committee, the NCAA Region 1 Tennis Committee, the ECAC Tennis Committee, the ITA East Region Committee and Penn State Athletics’ Council for Diversity and Inclusion.

From York, Pennsylvania, Bortner won the Pennsylvania boys singles state championship as a senior at William Penn Senior High School.

Bortner graduated from Penn State in 1975 and earned a master’s in sports administration in 1984. He played professionally for one year after graduation, competing on the Colgate Grand Prix Tour and the American Express Satellite Circuit before starting his coaching career at Mechanicsburg High School in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. During his two seasons as head coach of the boys tennis team, the squad compiled a superlative 25-3 record. Bortner returned to his alma mater as a graduate assistant coach with the women’s tennis program and began working on his master’s degree.

In 2007, Bortner was inducted in to the York Area Sports Hall of Fame. He also was inducted into the BT Express Hall of Fame in York as part of the class of 2011 with his brother, Jay Bortner.

Bortner and wife, Laraine, who has earned three Penn State degrees, have three children -- Jessica, Ashley and David -- all of whom are Penn State graduates. The Bortners have one grandchild.

  • Portrait of Jan Bortner

    Jan Bortner, associate athletic director for student-athlete success, will retire on Sept. 30 after 35 years with Penn State.

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated September 15, 2015