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Sandy Barbour Wins Sports Business Journal’s Athletic Director of the Year

Sandy Barbour
Photo by Penn State Athletics: AD Sandy Barbour

Former Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour was announced as the Sports Business Journal’s Athletic Director of the Year for the 2020-2021 

Former Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour was awarded as the Sports Business Journal’s Athletic Director of the Year for the 2020-2021 school year. Barbour is a first-time winner after being a finalist in 2009 and 2018.

Barbour, who announced her retirement on March 16, led one of the most extensive and successful athletic programs in the country, by presiding over 800 student-athletes in 31 varsity sports (16 men’s/15 women’s).

Penn State has won six national championships, 39 conference championships, and one NIT championship under Barbour’s tenure. On the academic side, the Nittany Lions have 32 student-athletes who received CoSIDA Academic All-American honors, most notably Kelly Abello, who has won CoSIDA Women’s Soccer All-American of the Year twice.

In the 2020-2021 school year, Penn State’s student-athletes achieved a record-tying Big Ten distinguished scholars, a graduating success rate of 92 percent, with 10 student-athletes achieving a 100 percent graduation rate, 446 student-athletes earning academic All-Big Ten honors (student-athletes who achieved a 3.0 GPA and a letter winner), 185 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars (student-athletes who achieved a 3.7 GPA and a letter winner), and all 31 sports teams have posted a 3.0 GPA for the fall and spring semesters.

Penn State’s athletic achievements in 2020-21 include five individual national championships, conference championships in women’s soccer in spring 2021, men’s soccer in the fall of 2021, men’s volleyball, and in women’s hockey.

Barbour has shown leadership on the national stage as well, serving as the chair of the NCAA’s Football Oversight Committee and NCAA’s Division I council. She was akey member of the NCAA Constitutional Committee, while also being the co-chair of the Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, with the hiring of Micah Shrewsberry, Penn State is the only Power Five school that has an African American coach in men’s basketball and football.

This is a great parting gift for Barbour who leaves the Penn State athletic program is in a great place for Patrick Craft.


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