NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — The Fall 2017 semester brings a new face and new vision to the athletics program at Penn State New Kensington. On Monday, the southwestern Pennsylvania campus announced the appointment of Megan Bratkovich as the new director of athletics. Bratkovich is the first full-time, permanent female director of athletics, and only the sixth director of athletics, at the campus since its founding in 1958.
“We had a great pool of well-qualified and dynamic individuals who applied for this position, and Megan stood out because of her background and experiences,” said Kevin Snider, chancellor. “The fact that she is our first permanent female director is terrific, but it is her fresh perspective and success as a coach and athletics administrator that attracted us. She has the right combination of experiences, ideas and temperament we were seeking. We are going to see some exciting things happen in athletics at Penn State New Kensington.”
Bratkovich has more than a decade of experience in intercollegiate athletics, specifically with recruiting, NCAA rules compliance, student-athlete affairs, and academic advising. She arrives at the campus from Caldwell University, where she served as the associate director of Athletics, Compliance, and Student Welfare. Bratkovich has been with Caldwell since 2006.
While at Caldwell, Bratkovich’s key accomplishments included: managing the complete initiation of a new NCAA Division II Women’s Volleyball program, which achieved its first conference regular season title after just three years of existence; directing the launch of the student-athlete mentor program; establishing an online resource for compliance and department policies; initiating an academic monitoring program that contributed to an increase in average student-athlete GPA from 3.1 to 3.3; and increasing recreation sport participation by 700 percent over six years.
“This type of hands-on experience and success is what we hope Megan will be able to apply here at PSNK. We were also very impressed with her success in generating additional interest in recreation sport participation because we have reorganized the position to include that responsibility,” said Snider. “Megan also has direct experience in facilitating the academic side of the student-athlete, and I can’t wait to see what she can do with other recent hires we have made in related areas. I think our athletes will be very pleased with what Megan plans to build as an experience for them.”
In her role at the New Kensington campus, Bratkovich will be responsible for the development, management, coordination and supervision of a competitive intercollegiate athletics program focused on the student-athlete. She will develop a comprehensive recruitment and retention program that will maintain high academic standards and support student success for the campus’ varsity sport teams. Bratkovich is also charged with expanding the available athletic programs at the campus, with a special focus on the development of additional women's athletic programs.
An experienced leader in intercollegiate athletics, Bratkovich will lead an athletics program which currently hosts eight varsity sports: men’s basketball, baseball, soccer and wrestling; women’s volleyball and softball; and co-ed cheerleading and golf. The campus competes in the Penn State University Athletic Conference of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association and has a roster of 122 student-athletes.
“I am honored to accept the position of director of athletics at Penn State New Kensington. I want to thank Chancellor Snider and the search committee for the opportunity to join the community of PSNK,” Bratkovich said. “I especially look forward to working with departments across campus to partner up on programming that enhances the experience of the student-athletes and the campus as a whole.”
Bratkovich, a native of Madison, Ohio, earned her bachelor of arts degree in mathematics from Elmira College and her master of education degree in sports administration from Bowling Green State University. As a varsity athlete during college, Bratkovich recognizes the importance of developing a strong academic foundation for all student-athletes.
“I am excited to work with the coaching staff to create winning traditions in our programs and, more importantly, to develop our student-athletes and prepare them for their futures,” said Bratkovich. “I believe that there is huge potential for growth and future success at Penn State New Kensington, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Bratkovich, who is a member of the Women Leaders in College Sports, National Association for Athletics Compliance, and Phi Beta Kappa, started her new role at the campus on Aug. 8. She and her husband, Nick, reside in Zelienople.