After two and half years of turmoil in the school’s leadership, Penn State University has finally found the person it wants to lead its athletic programs.
Sandy Barbour, who previously served as Cal’s athletic director, will take over the same role at Penn State, according to ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy. Barbour fills the role vacated by soon-to-be-retired Penn State AD Dave Joyner, who took over the position after the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Barbour, 54, was Cal’s athletic director from 2004 until she resigned from the position on June 27. Prior to Cal, Barbour served as Notre Dame’s deputy director of athletics from 2002 to ’04.
During her time with the Golden Bears, the university’s football team was 68-57. However, the program has been on a steady decline over the past four years. Part of the reason Barbour was eventually forced out at Cal was based on the football program’s 1-11 record last season and it finished dead last in the Pac-12 among graduation rates.
Barbour was able to get a new stadium built for the football program, but she left Cal with $445 million in debt due to athletic renovations, according to the San Francisco Gate.
There will also be a question of how Barbour will mesh with the coaching staffs already in place.
Penn State’s football program was kept afloat by former head coach Bill O’Brien. Once O’Brien left for the NFL, Penn State made a major hire by luring James Franklin away from Vanderbilt. However, there are always concerns over how attached a new athletic director is with a head coach they didn’t hire.
Barbour will provide Penn State with something the university has lacked in recent years…stability. But her recent track record makes this a questionable hire.