Temple names Kraft Athletic Director
Temple has named Pat Kraft, who previously served as the university's deputy director of athletics, as its new athletic director. Temple President Neil Theobald announced the appointment Monday afternoon.
Kraft, who becomes Temple's third athletic director in a little more than two years and is in the role for the first time in his career, replaces Kevin Clark, who has been nominated by Theobald to a newly-formed position of executive vice president and chief operating officer.
"Temple is an extraordinary university and its athletics programs are advancing with tremendous support from our students, faculty, coaches, parents and alumni," Kraft said in a statement. "Our athletics programs build greater name recognition for Temple around the region and across the country."
The recent reshuffling of Temple's athletic department has its roots in Bloomington, where Theobald, Clark and Kraft all worked at one time at Indiana University before coming to North Philadelphia.
Theobald, who had served as Indiana's senior vice president and chief financial officer, was appointed Temple's 10th president back in August of 2012 and officially began his tenure on Jan. 1, 2013. When he came to North Broad Street, Theobald brought Clark, who had been at Indiana as a senior associate athletic director, on board as a senior adviser.
Five months later, Kraft followed.
A former Hoosiers football player who earned all three of his degrees from Indiana, including a Ph.D. in sport management, Kraft came to Temple after a two-year stint as Loyola University Chicago's senior associate athletic director, where he was credited with increasing the men's basketball season ticket base by 30 percent. Before his post at Loyola, Kraft worked at Indiana with Clark and was charged with marketing and ticketing for every Hoosiers program. Indiana saw its highest home football attendance mark in nearly 20 years during Kraft's tenure.
Four months after Theobald officially took over as Temple's president, the university announced the retirement of former athletic director Bill Bradshaw after 11 years on May 1, 2013. The university issued a release that day that said Clark would serve as the interim athletic director until a national search for a permanent successor was completed.
Six months later, Clark's interim tag was dropped and he became Temple's athletic director on Nov. 1, 2013.
Clark's time as athletic director was certainly met with its challenges, with the most notable one being the Board of Trustees' decision to eliminate seven intercollegiate sports a little more than a month after Clark assumed the position. Clark delivered word of the board's decision to those affected student athletes in a brief announcement at the university's Pavilion, which serves as Temple's indoor football practice facility.
With some financial help in place from the city of Philadelphia and philanthropist and Temple trustee H.F. (Gerry) Lenfest, the Board of Trustees approved Theobald's recommendation to reinstate the men's crew and women's rowing teams.
There have been other significant developments along the way, including Temple's $15 million purchase of the former William Penn High School at Broad and Thompson Streets just south of Main Campus. The Philadelphia Planning Commission gave Temple permission in mid-February to demolish the vacant building, and Clark four months earlier told The Temple News that the university would move its men's soccer, women's soccer and women's track and field teams to a new facility at that site. Clark also told the paper that the future playing fields for women's lacrosse and field hockey teams remained "in flux."
If those two teams did wind up playing on new fields at the William Penn site, Clark told The Temple News that the future of Geasey Field would be described as "yet to be determined." In that same interview, he said the possibility of an on-campus football stadium remained "wide open."
The property on the west side of campus along 15th Street between Montgomery Avenue and Norris Street, according to various sources, is the most likely spot for that much-anticipated, highly-rumored but not yet confirmed or greenlighted on-campus football stadium. And although several sources have told OwlScoop.com that Temple is soliciting donors for a stadium project, no announcement appears imminent at this time, and there was no discussion about a football stadium at last week's Board of Trustees Athletics Committee meeting.
In that light, however, Kraft takes over as Temple's athletic director at a potentially dynamic time, and he also must now replace two administrators on his staff. Mark Ingram, the university's former executive senior associate athletic director, left earlier this month to become the athletic director at UAB, and Joe Giunta is leaving his post at Temple as a senior associate athletic director to become the athletic director at Dickinson College.