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Vince Tyra hired as Louisville’s new permanent athletic director

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One interim tagged removed, a few more to go.

George Mason v Louisville Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

Louisville took the first step towards regaining some semblance of stability on Monday by naming Vince Tyra as the school’s permanent athletic director. Tyra had held the position on an interim basis since early October.

Tyra’s new contract will pay him $850,000 per year over five years. The ULAA board personnel committee unanimously recommended Tyra, and the hire was unanimous approved by the U of L Board of Trustees.

A Louisville native, Tyra is the son of legendary U of L basketball player Charlie Tyra, who is one of just four Cardinal hoopers to ever have his jersey retired. The younger Tyra graduated from Trinity High School and from the University of Kentucky, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in health administration. He also was a member of the Wildcats baseball team, where he served as a captain for two years.

Before accepting the position at U of L, Tyra served as an operating partner for Southfield Capital, a position he had held since 2007, and as an advisor to ISCO Industries Inc. where he was formerly the president. He also formerly served as the president of Retail and Activewear for Fruit of the Loom.

I think we all knew this was coming. Now let’s hope the next thing we all expect to happen becomes official within the next 48 hours.

A new era is here.

UPDATE:

Here’s the full press release from U of L.

Following a nationwide search, the University of Louisville Board of Trustees has approved the appointment of Vincent Tyra as UofL’s vice president for intercollegiate athletics and athletics director.

The UofL board approved a five-year agreement with Tyra (pronounced TIE-ray) at a special meeting March 26 following recommendations from a university-wide search committee and the UofL Athletics Association Board of Directors.

Tyra has served as interim athletics director since Oct. 3, 2017.

A Louisville native with strong business and athletics credentials, Tyra has been highly active since assuming his interim position, using his business acumen, passion for Cardinal Athletics and background in athletics to lead UofL during a period of transition.

“We are convinced that Vince Tyra is the right fit to lead the UofL athletics program,” said UofL’s Interim President Greg Postel, MD. “He has provided strong leadership while continuing to move the Cardinals forward in all sports, building upon the legacy of previous athletics successes and taking the time to personally reach out to the UofL fan base and donors as much as possible. The feedback we received from donors, community members, employees, athletes, the ACC and colleagues throughout the country has been extremely positive.”

While in his interim capacity, Tyra has taken steps to stabilize the future of the Cardinals by extending the contracts for key UofL coaches and making moves to efficiently restructure the administrative and support staff, with an emphasis on enhancing the student-athlete experience. He has monitored UofL’s ongoing capital projects, including the Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium expansion to be completed in late summer and outfitting of a broadcast center on campus in advance of the launch of the ACC Network in August 2019.

Tyra is just the third athletics director for the Cardinals in the last 38 years, following Tom Jurich (1997-2017) and Bill Olsen (1980-1997).

“It’s an honor to take the reins of such an outstanding athletics program with its rich tradition of success,” Tyra said. “I look forward to continuing to work with our coaches and staff to put an outstanding product on the field while ensuring the success of our student athletes and representing UofL in a manner that will make the entire university family proud.”

Jed Hughes, vice chairman of Korn Ferry, the Los Angeles-based search firm selected to lead the search for UofL’s permanent AD, said Vince Tyra is perfectly suited to step into the

“I have recruited a lot of executives, and Vince Tyra is at the top of the food chain among executives in college or pro sports. His experiences transfer well to the athletic director’s role. He’s an elite business builder, he understands the value of his stakeholders, he truly values the university, he has a passion for supporting student athletes, and he has shown a unique ability to change and improve cultures. In two or three years, he’s going to be one of the best athletic directors in America,” Hughes said.

“When we began this search, we interviewed him and thought ‘Wow, the bar is high.’ We knew it was going to be tough to find candidates with his qualities. When we talked to representatives within the conference and at the NCAA, we found they felt the same way.”

Oliver Luck, EVP for Regulatory Affairs at the NCAA, called announcement “great news.”

“Vince has done an absolutely remarkable job in the most difficult of circumstances. He’s a former student-athlete with exceptional business experience,” Luck said. “I think the athletic department is in great hands with Vince.”

Vince Tyra’s resume

Prior to his appointment at UofL, Tyra served as an operating partner since 2007 for Southfield Capital, a Greenwich, Connecticut-based private equity firm that invests in lower-middle market companies. In his role there, Tyra served as chairman of the board of many investments, including Hallcon Corp, RCR International, Total Fleet Solutions, Dealer Financial Services, and BioPharm Communications. Tyra most recently served as chairman of the board and interim Chief Executive Officer of Elite Medical, a company based in Clearwater, Florida.

Tyra operated as a corporate advisor from 2013-16 for ISCO Industries, a privately held piping supply company based in Louisville. He also formerly served as the president of Retail and Activewear for Fruit of the Loom in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Tyra has served as a member of the University of Louisville Foundation Board of Directors and chaired the organization’s Finance Committee. He joined the board in February 2017, but stepped down from the position after his appointment with Cardinal Athletics. He has served on the board of Industrial Services of America, a Louisville-based scrap metal recycling company.

A standout athlete, Tyra graduated from Trinity High School in Louisville in 1984 as the state’s top baseball prospect and was inducted into the school’s hall of fame. He was a four-year baseball letterman (1985-88) and two-time team captain at the University of Kentucky, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in health administration in 1988. He started 37 career games as a pitcher, tied for 14th all time at UK.

A long-time supporter of UofL Athletics, Tyra is the son of Charlie Tyra, a consensus All-America at UofL who led the Cardinals to the 1956 National Invitation Tournament Championship. Charlie Tyra is one of four players, along with Wes Unseld, Darrell Griffith and Pervis Ellison, whose jersey numbers have been retired at UofL.

Tyra and his wife Lori have five children: Sydney, Audrey, Olivia, Spencer and Cooper.