St. Thomas Names Penn State Official New Athletic Director

Phil Esten Photo: Courtesy of St. Thomas
Phil Esten

November 12, 2018 01:50 PM

A former St. Thomas baseball player, who has gone on to hold leadership positions at both Big Ten and Pac-12 schools, is returning to take over the athletic department at his alma mater.

The school announced Monday that Phil Esten, a 1995 graduate, has been named the new vice president and director of athletics. He replaces longtime athletic director Steve Fritz, who announced earlier this fall he will retire in June.


RELATED: Steve Fritz to Retire as AD at St. Thomas

Esten has been the deputy director of athletics and chief operating officer at Penn State since 2014. Prior to that, a release said, he worked at UC-Berkley, the University of Minnesota and Ohio State.

The release said Esten will start at St. Thomas after the Penn State football season concludes.

“I’m excited that we are bringing a Tommie home to lead our athletics program,” St. Thomas president Julie Sullivan said in a statement.

“I can’t tell you how important it is that Phil was a St. Thomas student-athlete and that he embraces the core principles of Division III athletics: a quality student-athlete experience, academic success and athletics as an integral part of the student-athlete educational experience. He took his and bachelor’s degree in corporate fitness-business from St. Thomas and used it to learn the business, operations and fundraising components of NCAA sports, while never losing sight of the student-athlete experience.” 



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