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April 9, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Longtime St. Cloud State University Athletics Director Dr. Morris Kurtz has joined Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics as Special Assistant - Operations, Penn State Director of Athletics Dr. Dave Joyner announced Tuesday.
In his role, Kurtz will assist the Nittany Lion athletics director with special administrative and budget projects. He also will assist Associate Athletic Director Joe Battista and the NCAA Division I men's and women's hockey programs as they move into the new Pegula Ice Arena for the 2013-14 season, which will be the inaugural year of Big Ten-sponsored men's hockey.
"Dr. Kurtz has a long track record of success as an athletics director and administrator," Joyner said. "He will be a welcome addition to our team."
"We are fortunate to have a veteran athletics director with nearly 30 years of Division I hockey and administrative experiences lending his expertise to our projects and programs," added Battista.
"I am thrilled and honored to have this opportunity to return to Penn State where the goal of recruiting and graduating outstanding men and women student-athletes has never wavered," said Kurtz. "As a result, Penn State continues to produce exemplary student-athletes that excel both in the classroom and on the playing fields."
Kurtz, who earned his master's degree and Ph.D. from Penn State when he attended the University from 1973-79, began working at St. Cloud State as the men's athletics director in 1984. In 1995, he became the director of athletics for the combined men's and women's programs and held that position until his retirement in June 2012.
During his tenure at St. Cloud State, Kurtz hired legendary U.S. Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks and led the men's and women's hockey programs' transitions to the NCAA Division I level. The Huskies' men's team won the 2001 Western Collegiate Hockey Association tournament title and advanced to the NCAA championships eight times. St. Cloud State qualified for its ninth NCAA tournament this season and will play in the Frozen Four, which begins April 11, in Pittsburgh.
Kurtz was also instrumental in the planning and development of the National Hockey and Event Center, which serves as the home to Husky Hockey. In December 2012, the arena's office complex was named in his honor following a $1 million donation from Coborn's, Inc.
While at St. Cloud State, Kurtz also provided leadership in the growth of women's sports, exemplified when he co-chaired the WCHA expansion committee that brought the inclusion of women's hockey in the conference. In 2010, Kurtz helped St. Cloud State earn its highest Directors' Cup finish as the athletics program finished fifth among 288 NCAA Division II schools.
Kurtz, who also served as head coach of Penn State's club hockey team from 1974-76, assumed his responsibilities at Penn State effective April 1.