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U of L names interim president, interim athletic director

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It’s one name everyone was expecting, and another everyone will get to know.

Syndication: The Courier-Journal By Pat McDonogh / USA TODAY NETWORK

The University of Louisville Board of Trustees has named Dr. Lori Gonzalez as the school’s interim president, and Josh Heird as the school’s interim athletic director.

Gonzalez, who had been serving as the executive vice president and university provost, will replace Dr. Neeli Bendapudi, who is leaving to become the new president at Penn State. Gonzalez is a University of Kentucky graduate who spent 20 years working at UK. She also spent time at Southern Illinois, Appalachian State, Tennessee and North Carolina before arriving at U of L in April of 2021.

“I’m very humbled to step into this position at a time when our university has tremendous momentum,” Gonzalez said at a news conference Monday morning. “Our students are flourishing. Our faculty are changing lives every day, and our staff members are performing at an extraordinary level. And our passionate and loyal supporters, alumni and donors have never been more committed to elevating the University of Louisville. “

Heird (pronounced “Herd”) worked in the U of L athletic department from 2007-2016, serving as the Assistant Athletic Director for Championships and Facilities from 2012-16. He then left for Villanova in 2016, working as the associate AD for internal operations and finance for nearly two years before spending the 2018-19 athletic season as senior associate athletics director and chief athletics operating officer. He returned to U of L to serve as deputy athletic director in 2019.

“I am really, really excited about this opportunity,” said the 41-year-old Heird. “Thank you to Dr. Lori Gonzalez for believing in me. To be given the opportunity to lead this athletic department, it means the world to me. As these conversations have transpired, I haven’t had an ounce of anxiety because this athletic department is in unbelievable shape.

“I really have one goal as I think about near term, long term, what will transpire with this athletic department, and it’s for everybody who is associated with his university and this community to be proud to put that bird head on their chest. That’s it. That’s all it comes down to.”

It’s nice to see the next steps at both these positions taken so quickly. Best of luck to both Josh and Dr. Gonzalez in their new roles.