Penn State

Penn State President Eric Barron seeks a leader, expects strong candidates for athletic director

The search is on for Penn State’s next athletic director.

Dave Joyner announced his retirement Tuesday, and the university said a national search is underway to find his successor.

President Eric Barron, who is forming a search committee that will be led by senior vice president for finance and business David Gray, laid out some qualities Tuesday that he wants to see in candidates for the job.

“You need someone who is good not only at reading the landscape, but someone who is an innovator and leader,” Barron told the Centre Daily Times. “That’s what Penn State should have, and this is what I have in mind.”

The search committee appointed by Barron will work with Collegiate Sports Associates, an executive search and consulting firm based in North Carolina.

Barron said the group will develop a list of candidates and help with the vetting process. He likened the search process to Penn State’s recent hiring of James Franklin as its head football coach.

“Every AD out there should bleed the colors of the university,” Barron said. “This will be an incredibly substantial search, as it would be for any of the top coaching positions.”

The position is part of the president’s council and the hire will be expected to be a visible leader, he said.

“That means someone who is expected to be involved not just in the handling of issues in the area of athletics, but who also will participate in the discussions of the major issues facing the university,” Barron said. “This has to be someone who knows what they’re doing with athletics, but who is part of the larger team and can work with other individuals as they intersect with athletics.”

Barron said he expects a high level of interest in the job and a strong pool of candidates.

He and his team will look for someone who can: maintain and enhance the financial standing of the athletics department; play a role in fundraising and marketing of the university generally and athletics specifically; handle litigation-related issues that arise; ensure students are successful in the classroom and on the field; handle compliance issues; lead contract negotiations with coaches; and lead a department that wins with integrity.

“It really is quite a substantial job and portfolio,” Barron said.