Penn State Athletic Director Dr. Pat Kraft joined the PSU family just over a year ago.
During his first year, Kraft learned numerous lessons he hopes to take into the 2023-24 athletic calendar. He initially viewed the task at hand as a two-year project.
“I thought it would be 24 months to get us to where I thought we could be, where I could take a breath,” Kraft told reporters Tuesday in Indianapolis ahead of this year’s Big Ten Media Days.
One significant viewpoint that stuck with Kraft?
“We are really powerful,” Kraft said. “When we really get rolling, the Penn State community, the brand, the power of it, there is no ceiling here.”
In Kraft’s brief tenure, Penn State wrestling won the 2023 national championship and has won 10 of the last 12 NCAA Tournaments. Football defeated Utah 35-21 in the 2023 Rose Bowl.
Men’s basketball returned to the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the second round. Men’s and women’s volleyball experienced solid seasons and men’s hockey was one OT goal away from going to its first Frozen Four.
Kraft believes in the gravity of Penn State and joked,
“Stop shooting yourself in the foot! Just get out of our own way. We can do it.”
Kraft and staff are investing in nutrition, sports medicine and mental health to help student-athletes reach their highest potential.
James Franklin and co. begin the 2023 football season hosting West Virginia in primetime on NBC on Sept. 2nd.
“West Virginia is going to be electric,” Kraft said.
Kraft said more than 93,000 season tickets have been sold and is currently pushing the 94k mark.
“That’s incredible,” Kraft said. “That’s all about our fans and their passion for this place.”
Confidence continues to grow throughout multiple Penn State programs, with the itch to be the final team standing at season’s end. Faith in the process and their own abilities are driving players to succeed both on and off the field, court, ice and training facilities.
“Our athletes are in a place where they’re starting to believe in themselves; talk about winning,” Kraft said. “Go win, and everything you do, whether you’re in the classroom… just go win.”
Wanting to prove people wrong while holding an internal belief in the process and end result is driving Penn State athletes into the fall calendar.
“Have a chip on your shoulder,” Kraft said. “I think that’s what we should be doing, and I’m really excited.”