Committee approves contract extension for Sandy Barbour

February 22, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The Penn State Board of Trustees’ compensation committee has approved a contract extension for Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour through the 2022-23 academic year. In addition, Barbour will assume the title of Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics.

Barbour has been the dynamic leader of Penn State’s 31-sport athletic program, serving approximately 800 students, since August 2014. Her contract extension is retroactive to July 1, 2018, replacing the final year of her previous contract, and runs through Aug. 31, 2023.

 “Sandy has consistently promoted excellence in intercollegiate athletics — in academics and athletic competitions, and she is widely hailed among the best athletic directors in the nation,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “She is a powerful advocate for those who wear the blue and white, and her leadership has help advance our shared vision of what intercollegiate athletics can be. I’m proud of our student-athletics, the coaches and staff, and I’m very pleased that Sandy will be able to lead them to even greater success.”

“I am very appreciative of President Barron’s and the Board of Trustees’ confidence in my leadership and their steadfast belief in intercollegiate athletics as a powerful and positive influence on our institution and community,” Barbour stated. “It has been a privilege and an honor to lead this program the last four-plus years, and I look forward to the great work that lies ahead on behalf of student-athlete development and success. I am fortunate to get to work every day with the most talented coaches and staff in the country and the most passionate alumni, donors and fans ever known to mankind. Our future is limitless!”

Leader of Premier Athletic Department in Academic, Athletic and Community Achievement

Recognized as one of the nation’s premier athletic directors, Barbour has more than 35 years of varied experiences as a collegiate administrator and coach, with a demonstrated record of championships, academic success, innovation, facility modernization and revenue growth. 

With student success as a steadfast focus, Barbour directs one of the nation’s most comprehensive and successful athletic programs that boasts an NCAA Graduation Success Rate of 90 percent, winning 78 national championships and 108 Big Ten titles all-time. She oversees a broad-based program that supports approximately 800 students in 31 sports (16 men’s/15 women’s) and an Intercollegiate Athletics staff of approximately 300 whosedaily mission is preparing students for a lifetime of impact. Penn State’s 31 programs are tied for fourth-highest among all 130 FBS institutions.

Academic Excellence Among Record-Setting Achievements; 90 Percent NCAA Graduation Rate

During Barbour’s initial four and a half years, Penn State student-athletes have consistently raised the bar in the classroom and broken or tied numerous school academic records. 

In November 2018, the NCAA released its annual national graduation rates study, which revealed that Penn State student-athletes earned a school record-tying Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 90 percent for the second consecutive year. Eight Nittany Lion teams earned a perfect 100 percent Graduation Success Rate.

During the 2018 fall semester, Nittany Lion students delivered a school record-tying 3.15 grade-point average, set during the 2018 spring semester, and a record-tying 26 teams earned at least a 3.0 GPA.

Also during the fall semester, 518 student-athletes posted at least at 3.0 GPA, the second-highest total in school history (520, fall 2017). A total of 239 Nittany Lion students garnered Dean’s List honors for earning at least a 3.5 GPA (minimum 12 credits), which ranks as the third-highest total. 

A school record 360 Nittany Lions earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2017-18 for posting at least a 3.0 GPA and 136 student-athletes earned their degrees during the 2018 calendar year.

Five NCAA Team Championships and 25 Conference Titles

During Barbour’s four-plus years of leading Penn State Athletics, the Nittany Lions have captured five NCAA championships in women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and wrestling. Penn State has won 20 Big Ten titles and five EIVA crowns from 12 different sports for a total of 25 conference championships under Barbour’s leadership.

Penn State was ranked No. 3 in the Learfield Directors’ Cup in the final fall 2018 standings and has earned a pair of Top 10 finishes (three in Top 15) in the final standings under Barbour’s direction, including No. 8 in 2016-17. Penn State Athletics also was ranked No. 9 among the nation’s 65 Autonomy Five institutions in 2017-18, according to Yahoo! Sports. 

Strategic Plan and Facilities Master Plan Launched

During Barbour’s first year, Penn State Athletics launched a wide-ranging strategic planning process and conducted a series of town hall meetings. The project helped determine strategies and priorities for the formalized 2017-21 strategic plan.

The first facility project completed under Barbour’s direction was the conversion of the Greenberg Sports Complex to a new Morgan Academic Center. Advising, tutoring, computer labs, group study areas and meeting rooms for student-athletes previously were located in four separate locations on campus. The 2016 completion of the MAC provided a central and expanded academic and student welfare hub for Penn State’s 800 student-athletes. 

Early in her tenure at Penn State, Barbour made a gift of $100,000 for the Morgan Academic Center project, with a portion of her donation used to create a One Button production studio where students can record a speech or presentation and review it prior to delivering in class.

Barbour is overseeing a comprehensive facilities master plan that was informed by the strategic plan and announced in 2017. Penn State partnered with Populous, one of the world's leading architecture and sport event planning firms, to collaborate on programming, developing and producing a comprehensive facilities master plan to provide a 20-year road map for addressing current and long-term needs for all of the Nittany Lions' facilities (competition, practice, performance enhancement and training).

Less than two months after the facilities master plan was unveiled in 2017, Penn State announced a $3.55 million gift from men’s lacrosse letterman and graduate Ken Panzer and his business partner, Jordan Kaplan, to launch construction on a new lacrosse facility. The project transformed the Penn State lacrosse field into one of the top lacrosse venues in the nation when it opened for the 2019 men’s and women’s seasons.

AD of the Year Recipient in 2016-17 and Finalist in 2018

Barbour’s leadership was recognized with her selection for the prestigious National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Under Armour AD of the Year Award in 2016-17, having directed Penn State to nine conference championships and one NCAA title. She was among four Football Bowl Subdivision Athletic Directors to be honored at the 2017 NACDA Convention, marking the second time she’s received the NACDA honor.

In 2018, she was named one of five finalists for Sports Business Journal’s prestigious Athletic Director of the Year. Barbour, the recent chair of the Big Ten Athletic Directors, was a finalist for SBJ’s Athletic Director of the Year for a second time.

NCAA Football Oversight Committee and USOC Collegiate Advisory Council Member

Barbour is a member of the NCAA Football Oversight Committee. In 2017, she was selected as one of the inaugural members of the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) Collegiate Advisory Council. The CAC is charged with bridging the gap between high-contributing collegiate stakeholders and the Olympic Movement.

Born in Annapolis, Maryland, Barbour graduated cum laude with a B.S. degree in physical education from Wake Forest University, where she was a four-year letterwinner and served as captain of the field hockey team. She also played two seasons of women's basketball for the Demon Deacons.

Barbour earned advanced degrees at the University of Massachusetts (an M.S. in sports management in 1983) and Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management (an MBA in 1991). Her career in intercollegiate athletics began as a field hockey assistant coach and lacrosse administrative assistant at UMass.

The terms of Barbour's contract extension can be found here.



Last Updated February 22, 2019