Penn State is putting many of the key components of its transition to Division I status into the hands of a familiar face around hockey in the area.
Joe Battista, the longtime men’s club coach and school employee, will be the associate athletic director for ice arena operations and the director of the Ice Arena and Hockey Campaign.
Some of the main elements of the role include coordinating search committees for the men’s and women’s Division I coaches, administering those programs and consulting on the design of the new arena.
Last Friday, the school announced it was forming varsity men’s and women’s programs and building a new hockey arena after an $88 million gift from alumnus Terry Pegula and his wife, Kim.
Battista also will be in charge of the efforts to raise another $10 million to support the arena, and the programs and intramurals that will be housed in it.
“This is a dream come true for all skating and hockey enthusiasts and the entire Penn State Icer Family,” Battista said in a statement. “I want to thank Terry and Kim Pegula for their incredible generosity to make all of this possible. We have a shared passion for Penn State, ice hockey and skating, and for helping others. We are committed to bringing their vision for a world-class facility and skating programs and to build championship-caliber college ice hockey teams, to fruition. This new facility will serve Penn State students, alumni, faculty, and staff and be a great destination for residents of Central Pennsylvania and visitors to Centre County.”
Formerly the executive director of the Nittany Lion Club, Battista most recently was the director of major gifts for the Smeal College of Business.
“We are extremely excited to have Joe back in the athletic department and think he is the perfect person for this position,” Penn State athletic director Tim Curley said. “As we elevate our club programs to Division I status, Joe’s vast knowledge of hockey, connection to our alumni and donors, and overall charisma and ‘can-do’ attitude made him the best choice for this important role. We cannot wait for him to get started.”
Penn State plans to debut its Division I programs in the 2012-13 season.