By Kyeland Jackson —
A familiar face to the university will take over its athletics program.
Vince Tyra, son of former U of L basketball player Charlie Tyra, was named acting athletic director Tuesday. Tyra also serves on the U of L Foundation board, but says he’ll resign from that position for this new role.
Tyra said he’s a fan of the university and its athletics, and denied claims the university’s plagued by systemic corruption. Tyra plans to meet with players and coaches to soothe the transition period and work alongside them as the year continues.
“I’m honored to have been chosen … I’m all in,” Tyra said. “I’m not going to be a lame duck at the same time because when I’m done and it’s time for me to slap hi-five with someone else, I intend to stay around and offer as much guidance as I can.”
It’s unclear how long Tyra would be in the position.
News of university coaches bribing recruits to join the program shocked the city, putting U of L’s athletics director Tom Jurich on paid leave and suspending basketball player Brian Bowen.
Men’s head basketball coach Rick Pitino was placed on leave until the FBI investigation ends, but the university approved the process of formally firing Pitino Monday. David Padgett, an assistant coach for Pitino, was named the interim head coach Friday.
Tyra said fans and donors need to dig deep as the university addresses the investigation, and said he plans to review the Adidas contract. That contract, extending a $160 million deal with the Adidas, brought criticism by Interim President Greg Postel. Postel said Jurich did not adequately discuss the agreement with him or the university.
Many want Jurich to stay, sending letters to Postel asking they reconsider his termination.
“(Tom Jurich’s) fingerprints will continue to be on the athletic department and the university and for that I’m forever grateful,” head men’s soccer coach Ken Lolla said. “He wasn’t only a great leader, I consider him a great friend as well.”
Postel said Jurich could keep the position, but said the decision would not be up to him. Tyra echoed Postel’s thoughts, saying Tuesday that Jurich’s employment was not up to him and applauding his impact on the athletics department.
Photo by Arry Schofield / The Louisville Cardinal