clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Report: Pitt reportedly to hire Heather Lyke as new athletics director, per ESPN's Brett McMurphy

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Recently, the Post-Gazette posted an article about potential athletics directors for Pitt. One of those folks said to be in the running was Eastern Michigan's Heather Lyke.

On Sunday, ESPN's Brett McMurphy said the hunt is over.

The Post-Gazette's Brian Batko said it will become official on Monday.

Here's a look at her Eastern Michigan bio as well. She would become Pitt's first female athletics director and one of the few in that role for a P5 school.

Initially, I expected this to drag on for another couple of weeks and didn't see a hire coming until April. But that's always dependent upon finding the right person and if you're convinced you have that, there's no point in waiting too long just to follow protocol.

One of Lyke's accomplishments was helping to turn the football program around. She was hired in 2013, brought in new coach Chris Creighton in 2014, and after winning only three games combined that year and 2015, they won seven this year and made a bowl game. And, at least according to this quote, she seems like a 'football drives the bus' type of AD, which Pitt had with Scott Barnes.

That doesn't mean she doesn't care about the other sports. She has hired ten coaches there her coaches have also won 17 Conference Coach of the Year awards. So she's seen some success across the board covering a lot of sports despite only being there since 2013.

She was also a softball player in college and a few years back, interestingly enough, was even commentating for the Big Ten Network in that sport while an associate AD at Ohio State. We don't yet know her but she at least seems to have an interest in the Olympic sports and has made a lot of hires there.

One thing that was important in Pitt's last search for an athletics director? Fundraising. Lyke has done that, too, setting a record at Eastern Michigan last year in terms of dollars and new donors. Her bio also states that the school is on track to outpace those numbers again for 2017's fiscal year.

Another thing that likely impressed Pitt was her involvement in Eastern Michigan's current facilities plan. She recruited a team of people to help with their building facilities plan. Pitt has been, and will continue to be, upgrading facilities around campus. Recently, Eastern Michigan put a plan in place for $35 million in facility upgrades.

Finally, also noteworthy is that, while she came from a smaller, non-P5 school in Eastern Michigan, she was an associate/senior AD at Ohio State for about 15 years. She received her undergraduate degree at Michigan and also spent some time in Cincinnati's athletics department. Lyke very much has experience working in high-level administration at the P5 level.

This wasn't the big splash hire that many wanted but I have to say that, on the surface, the hire at least makes sense from a Pitt standpoint in terms of what they wanted. Many of the same qualities they wanted with Barnes they seem to have gotten with Lyke in terms of fundraising, Olympic sports, and putting football first. And with the many years at Ohio State, she doesn't appear to be in over her head.


Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.