By Dalton Ray —
U of L announced Interim Athletic Director Vince Tyra as the full-time athletic director after a unanimous vote by the board.
Tyra served as the interim since Oct. 3 after former athletic director Tom Jurich was removed last September.
The search committee considered two other candidates in addition to Tyra.
Interim president Greg Postel introduced Tyra to a room full of media and Louisville supporters. Postel said the search included 50 total candidates and were narrowed down to three finalists.
“We wanted someone who had proven relevant experience and a track record of success,” Postel said. “At the end of the day, Vince Tyra emerged as the strongest candidate.”
Postel pointed to Tyra’s experience with the U of L Foundation Board and his six months as interim athletic director when explaining his qualifications.
Tyra, son of legendary Louisville men’s basketball player Charlie Tyra, took the podium with a 21-minute opening statement then fielded questions for the next 20 minutes.
“I can’t tell you how proud and excited I am to be named the athletic director at the University of Louisville,” Postel said. “We were raised as Cardinals … I couldn’t be happier to lead this process for the university.”
Tyra’s speech touched every corner of the university, from the university president search, to the student-athlete life and alumni.
“The program hasn’t stopped growing since my father stepped away, and it’ll continue long after I’m gone,” Tyra said.
The new athletic director also gave credit to Jurich, saying the athletic department is in a good position because of Jurich’s dedication to the university and program.
A large portion of the questions Tyra answered surrounded the men’s basketball head coaching vacancy. Tyra and U of L officials reportedly met with former Xavier head coach Chris Mack and Kentucky assistant coach Kenny Payne about the position.
Tyra said the next coach will need to unify the fans. He also added he feels confident in the ability to hire a coach, saying the university “won’t be paying minimum wage.”
On March 28, U of L hired Mack as head coach. Mack’s contract is $28 million over seven years — far from the minimum wage.
The interim tag didn’t prevent Tyra from making big-time decisions. During a February press conference, Tyra said he’s doing what he thinks is best for the university.
“I’m not worried about the interim or acting tag, when you get into these positions and you’re going to take over a role … you have to make decisions,” Tyra said. “You have to make decisions that are best for the department.”
During his time as the interim AD, Tyra extended contracts of men’s soccer coach Ken Lolla, women’s soccer coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes and volleyball Dani Busboom Kelly. He fired women’s lacrosse coach Kellie Young amid the mass exodus of players last fall.
Tyra also conducted what he called a “restructuring” of the athletic department in February, removing three associate athletic directors, including Mark Jurich.
Prior to serving as the interim athletic director, Tyra was chairman of the finance committee of U of L’s Foundation Board.
You can follow Dalton Ray on Twitter @dray5477.
Photos by Dalton Ray / The Louisville Cardinal