Penn State

Sandy Barbour
Director of Athletics

Sandy Barbour

Barbour began her passionate and effective leadership of the Penn State Athletics program in August 2014. In February 2019, Barbour received a contract extension through August 31, 2023 and assumed the title of Penn State Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics.

Barbour’s leadership was recognized with her selection for the prestigious National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Under Armour AD of the Year Award in 2016-17, having directed Penn State to nine conference championships and one NCAA title. She was among four Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Athletic Directors to be honored at the 2017 NACDA Convention, marking the second time in her career she had received the NACDA honor. In 2018, she was named one of five finalists for Sports Business Journal’s prestigious Athletic Director of the Year. Barbour, the recent chair of the Big Ten Athletic Directors, was recognized at the 11th Annual SBJ Sports Business Awards Gala in New York City in May, the second time she’s been a finalist for SBJ’s Athletic Director of the Year.

A former student-athlete and graduate of Wake Forest University, Barbour is a member of the NCAA Football Oversight Committee. In 2017, she was selected as one of the inaugural members of the United States Olympic Committee’s (USOC) Collegiate Advisory Council. The CAC is charged with bridging the gap between high-contributing collegiate stakeholders and the Olympic Movement.

Forbes has recognized Barbour twice in recent years among the top executives in sports. In 2018, Barbour was selected No. 13 among the Most Powerful Women in Sports. She was among four executives listed who work primarily in intercollegiate athletics and was the highest ranked Athletic Director — No. 2 overall in college sports.

Serving as the Director of Athletics at Cal from 2004-14, Barbour guided the Golden Bears through one of the most successful periods in school history. Barbour’s 10-year term as AD was the longest tenure for the department since men’s and women’s athletics merged into a single entity in 1992.

Prior to her tenure at Berkeley, Barbour was the deputy director of athletics at Notre Dame, serving as the university’s senior athletic administrator from July 2002 to September 2004. She previously held an associate athletic director position there starting in 2000.

Barbour graduated cum laude in 1981 with a B.S. degree in physical education from Wake Forest University, where she was a four-year letter winner and served as captain of the field hockey team. She also played two seasons of women’s basketball for the Demon Deacons.

Barbour earned advanced degrees at the University of Massachusetts (an M.S. in sports management in 1983) and Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management (an MBA in 1991). Barbour’s career in intercollegiate athletics began as a field hockey assistant coach and lacrosse administrative assistant at Massachusetts in 1981.