Penn State makes surprise hire as new AD

UNIVERSITY PARK — Penn State made a surprising hire Saturday in naming Sandy Barbour as its new athletic director.

Barbour was forced out as AD at California in June after 10 years on the job there. She left with the school’s athletic department facing several major issues, according to

One was a $445 million debt on a new stadium and athletic center.

Cal’s graduation rate for football also ranked dead last among 72 teams in major conferences, while its basketball graduation was last in the Pac-12.

“She’s tried hard all the time she’s been here, but she’s been over her head as a manager,” Michael O’Hare, public management teacher at Goldman School of Public Policy, told “There have been a variety of bad outcomes – whether success on the field or graduation rates or financial pressures, especially from the stadium – that have come to pass. She’s been tasked to get the athletic department back on a reasonable keel for years, and it hasn’t happened.”

Penn State President Eric Barron called Barbour “”the clear choice, the first choice … the unanimous choice” of the search committee.

“You dream about coming to a place like Penn State,”Barbour said in her opening remarks.

She later added: “I am absolutely thrilled, over the top excited about this opportunity.”

Barbour replaces Dave Joyner, who had held the AD position at Penn State since shortly after the fallout of the Sandusky scandal in 2011.

The Mirror will have more on this developing story throughout the day and in tomorrow’s print edition.