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Sept. 20, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Longtime Penn State Athletics and University Development employee Joe Battista has assumed a pivotal role with Penn State as the Associate Athletic Director for Ice Arena Operations and the Director of the Ice Arena and Hockey Campaign. Battista was instrumental in facilitating the largest gift in the University's history, an $88 million donation for the planned ice facility and Division I men's ice hockey team, which came through the generosity of Terry and Kim Pegula and was announced last week.
Until December of 2012, Battista will report to both University Development and Intercollegiate Athletics. After that date, he will report solely to Intercollegiate Athletics as he continues as the Associate Athletic Director for Ice Arena Operations. Battista will assume his new role on September 27.
"We are extremely excited to have Joe back in the Athletic Department and think he is the perfect person for this position," said Penn State Director of Athletics Tim Curley. "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."
As Director of the Ice Arena and Hockey Campaign, Battista will have principal responsibility for the fundraising efforts to secure $10 million to support the ice arena, the varsity ice hockey programs as well as the intramural and recreational programs that will be housed in the arena.
As Associate Athletic Director for Ice Arena Operations, Battista will provide consultation and advice on features of the arena during design and construction, and represent those interests to the Office of Physical Plant. He will coordinate the search committees for the men's and women's Division I coaches as well as for arena and rink managers. In addition, he will have overall responsibility for the administration of the men's and women's ice hockey programs and will serve as the arena's chief administrator.
"This is a dream come true for all skating and hockey enthusiasts and the entire Penn State Icer Family," Battista said. "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 Pa. and visitors to Centre County."
A longtime head coach of Penn State's men's ACHA club ice hockey team - the Icers - and former Executive Director of the Nittany Lion Club, Battista most recently served as the Director of Major Gifts for the Smeal College of Business, a position he accepted in March of 2009. During his tenure, Battista was awarded the 2009 Ridge Riley Lions' Pride Award in the Division of Development and Alumni Relations.
In his first development position, Battista served as the Executive Director of the Nittany Lion Club from 2006-09. While with the Nittany Lion Club, Battista helped grow the club to a then-record 23,000 members. Under his guidance, the annual giving to support the Intercollegiate Athletic Department also increased to record levels.
Prior to his appointment with the Nittany Lion Club, Battista was the head coach of the Icers for 19 years (1987-2006), bringing six ACHA national titles back to Happy Valley. His teams played in 10 straight national championship games, and graduated 97 percent of the participating student-athletes during that time. Battista received ACHA Division I Coach of the Year honors in 1999-2000 and 2001-02, and won more than 500 games as a head coach.
In 1991, Battista was a co-founder of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), which has since grown to a membership of close to 500 Universities and Colleges in five divisions. He is also a past president of the association. Battista also coached at Kent State University (1985-86) as a graduate assistant before moving to Culver (Ind.) Military Academy the following year (1986-87).
From 1982-85, Battista was an Assistant to the Marketing Director for the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins and was also head coach of the Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins at that time. In 1983, he was the co-Founder of the Amateur Penguins Hockey organization, which to this day fields competitive teams in six age groups, and created the position of Director of Amateur Hockey for the Pittsburgh Penguins, serving as its first Director.
A USA Hockey Master Level Coach, he was a USA Hockey Player Development and Coaching Certification instructor for 20 years. In 2003, he coached Team USA at the World University Games in Tarvisio, Italy.
Battista has been inducted into numerous Halls of Fame for his athletic accomplishments and contributions to hockey, including the ACHA Hall of Fame, the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, the Penn Hills Sports Hall of Fame, and the Penn State Ice Hockey Hall of Fame.
A Pittsburgh native, Battista is a 1983 graduate of the Smeal College of Business with a degree in marketing. He captained the Icers while an undergraduate and was President of the Ice Hockey Management Association.
Battista and his wife Heidi (Penn State BS Geology '81, EPC MS'83) live in State College with their three children, Brianna, Jonathon and Ryan.