Dr. Patrick Kraft, who is in his third year at Temple, has helped transform the University’s athletics department while serving first as Deputy Director of Athletics (2013-15), and since May 2015 in his current role as Director of Athletics. Kraft has had an incredible impact on Temple Athletics in his short time at the school, and this impact has been recognized both regionally and nationally. In 2016, the 38-year-old athletic administrator was named to the Forty Under 40 lists for the Sports Business Journal and the Philadelphia Business Journal. He was the only intercollegiate athletic director on each list. Through his regular meetings and open dialogue with student-athletes, Kraft has made the voice and welfare of the student-athlete paramount. In his tenure, he has worked to provide a better quality experience for the University’s 500-plus student-athletes. Enhancements were completed to athletic training facilities, strength and conditioning facilities, and the student-athlete academic support center. Additionally, locker room renovations and upgrades were completed for each team.
Recognizing the unique needs of Temple’s student-athletes, Kraft facilitated the development of a number of initiatives aimed at improving the mental health of student-athletes, including establishing a partnership with Temple’s Department of Clinical Psychology to deliver onsite behavioral health coaching for student- athletes. The Department has also partnered with the University’s Student Health Services staff to serve as a resource for student-athletes. A trained dietitian meets with teams and individual student-athletes to provide education and address areas of concern with regards to their nutrition and dietary questions.
Under his leadership, his passion for the holistic development of student-athletes has led to exceptional performances in the classroom highlighted by record-setting grade point averages, academic performance (APR) and graduation rates. With record numbers of student-athletes earning their degrees, life after sport and career development has also been a great point of emphasis for Kraft. In collaboration with Temple’s Career Center, over 40 national and regional employers have attended two Career Networking Events on campus this year, where student-athletes have had opportunities to hone their networking skills and establish professional connections in their respective industries.
Another area that has shown tremendous growth over the past year has been community service. Student-athlete community service projects have doubled from the 2014-15 academic year with over 31 projects and over 4,800 hours completed for this academic year to date. Many initiatives have been undertaken to further engage students, alumni, and fans. Some of those initiatives include Owls TV, a video services department dedicated to athletics, a broad-ranging social media presence, and new game-day enhancements and traditions.
Kraft oversaw the greatest season in Temple Football’s history. The team recorded its best start in school history at 7-0 and its first national ranking since 1979. That success lured ESPN College GameDay to Philadelphia for the team’s sold out game against Notre Dame. Although the #21 Owls lost a tightly-contested game (24-20) to the #9 Irish, the game garnered a record 18.1 share in Philadelphia to make it ABC’s highest-rated regular season college football game in the market.
The 2015 Temple football campaign tied the school record for wins and earned bowl eligibility for the second consecutive season; the fifth time in seven seasons. The Owls were the American Athletic Conference East Division Champions and earned a bid to the Boca Raton Bowl, led by National Defensive Player of the Year (Bednarik and Nagurski Awards) and Consensus All-American Tyler Matakevich.
Leading the conference in attendance for Football, Temple Athletics also set attendance records for men’s and women’s basketball with single game building records at the Liacouras Center and McGonigle Hall, respectively. Temple men’s basketball won the American Athletic Conference regular season title in 2015-16, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in the last nine years. The Owls’ women’s basketball team earned a second straight bid to the WNIT and with
its win over Ohio last night, advanced to the quarterfinals of the tournament for the second straight year. During his tenure, he was integral in securing key partnerships with Learfield Sports Properties, Learfield Licensing Partners, and IMG/Learfield Ticket Solutions while negotiating a lucrative rights deal with Under Armour. Capital projects have also been on the forefront with a soon-to-be-completed athletic complex to house men’s and women’s soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and track scheduled to open in the fall of 2016. The restoration of the East Park Canoe House for men’s crew and women’s rowing will also be completed by the fall; while this June will see groundbreaking of a new indoor practice facility.
Prior to Temple, Kraft was the Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director at Loyola University Chicago. At Loyola, he had direct oversight of all aspects of the department’s external operations, including the marketing, ticketing, media relations, and fundraising components. Kraft played an integral role in Loyola’s move from the Horizon League to the Missouri Valley Conference. In his two years at the school, he was able to grow the men’s basketball season ticket base by 30 percent with an overall increase of 51 percent in ticket revenue. Additionally, he generated an increase of 400 percent in cash sponsorship to the department while also growing the department’s annual giving by 75 percent. As Senior Assistant Athletic Director at Indiana, Kraft, was responsible for the branding and marketing efforts for all of the Hoosiers’ programs. He oversaw game production for all of IU’s varsity sports and coordinated group, season, and single-game ticket sales for football, men’s basketball, men’s soccer, women’s basketball, and women’s volleyball. In addition, Kraft managed the promotion, marketing, brand enhancement, and enforcement of the school’s Adidas contract and the Big Ten Network partnership as well as the Learfield Sport Properties multi-media rights agreement with the Hoosiers. His efforts at Indiana helped increase home football attendance to its highest mark in 17 years, with it also being the third largest football attendance increase among all Division I schools. He also instituted a strategy that saw a 20 percent increase in student ticket sales and the overall highest season ticket base in 13 years.
Kraft, who played football as an undergraduate at Indiana, has three degrees from the University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sports marketing/management (2000), a master’s degree in athletic administration (2005), and a doctorate in sports management (2008).