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Penn State Wrestling HC Cael Sanderson Calls Pat Kraft ‘The Best Athletic Director in the Country’

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Pat Kraft

Penn State athletic director Pat Kraft sees wrestling coach Cael Sanderson as the best ever.

Sanderson sees Kraft as the best in the nation at his job. 

After Penn State sealed its 11th national title in 13 years— all of which under Sanderson’s watch– the man who’s become an icon both for his wrestling career and coaching career was asked about the strength of Pennsylvania wrestling in general beyond Penn State and what that could mean for the future. 

“Pennsylvania’s always been known for wrestling,” he said. “It’s been great, and it’s just been a nice combination for us to be able to get in there. But there’s a lot of states that love wrestling, there’s a lot of great wrestlers around the world, around the country. But we’re just blessed to be surrounded by a lot of good people that love competing and love doing things the right way.”

But in answering that question, Sanderson gave a shoutout to Kraft. Sanderson’s worked with Kraft for more than a year and a half since Kraft took over after Sandy Barbour’s retirement. 

“We have the best athletic director in the country right now,” Sanderson said, “and we’re very blessed with Pat Kraft.”

Kraft’s become a fan favorite. This is largely due to the enthusiasm he shows during athletic events, particularly football games and wrestling meets. 

“He loves the sport and is extremely competitive,” Sanderson said. “He’s been a huge just refresh.”

Like everybody else, Kraft thinks highly of Sanderson.

“He’s the greatest of all time, I think, of any sport,” Kraft told reporters last July ahead of Big Ten Media Days, “and being embedded with him for two years, the two championships, Big Ten and NCAA’s. Incredible, the program, you all know better than I, but he doesn’t ask for anything.”

Kraft said Penn State can’t take the wrestling program “for granted” in terms of support with factors such as name, image and likeness etc. 

“If you think you can just sit there and rest on Cael Sanderson, that’s absolutely the wrong answer,” he said.

At the time Kraft said that, Penn State had 10 national titles under Sanderson. 

It has one more now, but as Kraft said in July, they want to keep it moving.

“We want to win 20,” he said. “We want to win 30 national championships. We don’t want to stop.”

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