Battista Leaving Penn State to Work With Pegula
CHN Staff Report
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. Joe Battista, the long-time Penn State club coach who more recently helped orchestrate the university's move to Division I hockey, is stepping down from his position at the school to join the company of Penn State benefactor Terry Pegula.
Battista will join Pegula’s East Management Services as its Vice President of Hockey Related Businesses, effective Nov. 11. Pegula's $100 million-plus donation to Penn State is what kick-started the men's and women's hockey programs there, and the new arena is named in his honor. Pegula later bought the NHL's Buffalo Sabres.
Battista, after stepping down as club coach, worked in other capacities at the university, including fundraising. When Pegula's donation set the wheels in motion for a D-I team, Battista oversaw the hiring of coach Guy Gadowsky and the building of the new arena.
“Joe Battista has been an integral part of the Penn State community for more than 30 years as a student and employee, and I thank him for his loyal service to the University and Intercollegiate Athletics,” said Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner, in a statement. “Joe’s vision, passion and tireless efforts toward bringing NCAA Division I hockey to Penn State were unmatched and it’s fitting that he was able to see both the men’s and women’s hockey programs play at Pegula Ice Arena. We wish him and his family all the best in the future.”
Battista's club teams won six ACHA national championships in 19 years. Following the 2005-06 season, the Pittsburgh native left the bench to become the Nittany Lion Club’s executive director (2006-09). Battista then joined the Smeal College of Business as its Director of Major Gifts from 2009-10.
"It is with mixed emotions that after more than 26 years my career at Penn State is coming to a close," Battista said. "Starting as a freshman hockey player in 1978, my 35-year journey has culminated with the building of the new ice arena and the launching of two varsity hockey programs. They will provide year-round entertainment and activity and serve the University Community and the Commonwealth for decades and be an economic engine for local business and for Penn State."
According to Battista, with Pegula's company he will be responsible for hockey development and strategic initiatives "across the entire spectrum of the Pegula’s hockey organizations. I will work in collaboration with Buffalo Sabres President Ted Black, General Manager Darcy Reiger, and Chief Development Officer Cliff Benson, as well as HarborCenter CEO John Koelmel to maximize communication and to coordinate, implement, and optimize all our hockey related business."