UofL names Vince Tyra acting athletic director

UofL names Vince Tyra acting athletic director
Vince Tyra
Grawemeyer Hall (Source: Dale Mader/WAVE 3 News)
Grawemeyer Hall (Source: Dale Mader/WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The University of Louisville on Tuesday announced its new acting athletic director.

Vince Tyra will take over for Tom Jurich, who was placed on paid administrative leave following last week's FBI investigation into criminal allegations at several prominent college basketball programs.

"I know Tom," Tyra said. "He's a good friend. He's been a terrific advocate of me and my family."

UofL Interim President Dr. Greg Postel made the announcement at a news conference on campus Tuesday.

"We have a terrific set of sports program here all across the board," Tyra said. "One of them may have a flat tire today but we're going to pump it back up."

Tyra is taking the reigns of an athletics department surrounded in a scandal.

"While this is a difficult process in what we're going through here," Tyra said, "it's time for our fan base frankly to dig in deeper."

Tyra brings an interesting trifecta to the University of Louisville. He's the son of the late UofL basketball star Charlie Tyra, he played baseball at the University of Kentucky and is among the ownership group of Louisville FC, the city's minor-league soccer squad.

"Vince has been around athletics his entire life," Postel said. "(He's) an exceptional leader who will provide stability to our athletics department."

He was the president and CEO of ISCO Industries, a Louisville-based piping company, and is now on its board of directors.

Over the summer, the 1984 Trinity High School graduate was named board chairman of Florida-based Elite Medical Staffing.

According to his LinkedIn profile, he is a partner at Southfield Capital, a Connecticut-based private equity firm at which he's worked for the last decade.

But it's clear Tyra's family ties to UofL are strong. When asked about his father, who graduated as the school's all-time leading scorer and rebounder (and is still ninth on the list for rebounds), he got emotional.

"He would be incredibly proud because my father had such passion for this. Bill Olsen was his best friend. I grew up with Doug Olsen," Tyra explained. "And then we move on to Tom and I get to know Tom and certainly Mark and their family and so forth, Terrilynn. We've been a part of this for a long time as a family. My mom yells at that basketball team like my dad is still on the court."

And his commitment to the school goes beyond sports. Tyra joined the UofL Foundation's Board of Directors in February and chaired the group's Finance Committee until Tuesday.

"His success in business, his athletic background and his close ties to the university and the athletics department will be important to the continuing success of our program," Postel said.

Added Tyra: "I'm really excited to be here and carry on what Tom's created and what these coaches have done. It's spectacular."

>> MORE: Kent Taylor: Tyra impresses UofL coaches

Tyra made it clear that he already has relationships with some of the head coaches at UofL. He mentioned baseball coach Dan McDonnell.

He'll meet with them soon, and perhaps his most pressing decision will be helping David Padgett hire a staff for this season.

Tumultuous Week

The last week has brought a whirlwind of drama to the UofL campus.

Nearly two years to the day after escort queen Katina Powell's bombshell memoir rocked the basketball program with allegations of cash-for-sex at parties involving players and recruits, the FBI announced its far-reaching probe into claims of bribery and corruption at at least seven major college programs.

Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino was placed on unpaid administrative leave, and he appears poised for a legal fight with the university. Former UofL player and assistant coach David Padgett was named acting basketball coach on Friday, just two days before the team began workouts ahead of the new season.

Pitino's boss, Jurich, was placed on paid leave, but Tuesday brought the news about his acting replacement.

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