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.”
Prior to his appointment at UofL, Tyra served as an operating partner since 2007 for Southfield Capital, a Greenwich, Conn. 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, Fla.
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, Ky.
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.
Quotes from each coach about hiring of Vince Tyra:
Dan McDonnell, Baseball Head Coach
“From the moment he stepped into his current role, Vince has made an unbelievable effort to connect with coaches, student-athletes and fans. I respect that’s he’s been a tireless worker, which is what we preach in athletics.”
Justine Sowry, Field Hockey Head Coach
“We are excited to move forward with our athletics department and our university. I am happy that a decision has been made and we can continue to surge ahead to great things. Vince has led us through challenging times with forward thinking, honesty, and positivity, and I am confident we have a tremendous future ahead of us.”
Bobby Petrino, Football Head Coach
“Vince Tyra is a tremendous choice to be our athletics director. He has all the qualities that you look for in a leader, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to work for him. He took on the task of guiding our athletic program during a difficult time and continued to move us forward. I’m looking forward to the future with Vince leading our athletic department.”
Mark Crabtree, Men’s Golf Head Coach
“I’m excited to have chance to work for Vince. He’s a tremendous person. He’s been very successful throughout his career, and I know he has the ability to lead our department. The way he interacts with others, the way he’s given back to the community shows what a tremendous person he is. I’m proud to be coaching under his leadership.”
Courtney Trimble, Women’s Golf Head Coach
“I am excited to work with Vince Tyra as our athletics director. I am confident he can continue to move our department toward excellence in all areas and look forward to his leadership for years to come.”
Derek Copeland, Rowing Head Coach
“I am relieved that Vince has been selected as our permanent director of athletics. I think he has filled the role well and made some important restructuring decisions that will certainly benefit the student-athletes. I am excited to see his plan continue to take shape. The guy is a machine.”
Ken Lolla, Men’s Soccer Head Coach
“This is a positive step for the athletics department and our university. There are several important decisions to be made to move forward and this hiring provides Vince the authority to make those decisions.”
Karen Ferguson-Dayes, Women’s Soccer Head Coach
“I am excited for both Vince and the University of Louisville. He has been absolutely fantastic since appointed interim AD, and I feel like the athletics department is in the hands of a very capable, confident, and passionate leader in Vince Tyra.”
Sandy Pearsall, Softball Head Coach
“I look forward to continuing to work with Vince. He brings an enthusiasm that our department needs right now. I think the future will be bright under his leadership.”
Arthur Albiero, Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Head Coach
“I am excited to work with Vince. From his first day as an interim AD, he showed a clear passion for UofL Athletics. He is the right person to continue to build on the tradition and legacy of UofL Athletics.”
Rex Ecarma, Men’s Tennis Head Coach
“My first encounter with Vince is when he first got appointed, he came to the tennis center for an hour to see our facility. In that time, we got to share with each other a summary of our careers so far and realized we had a lot in common, especially that we were both educated in business, had great mentors, grew up in Louisville, and are passionate about the Cardinals. He communicates regularly, listens to our needs, and is very accessible. I am confident he will do a great job.”
Mark Beckham, Women’s Tennis Head Coach
“This is a great hire. I have always wanted it to be Vince. In the situation our athletics department is in, we needed more than just someone doing the job, but someone who has a true understanding of what UofL athletics is truly about. I am from Louisville and am someone who bleeds UofL red, so I am ecstatic that we have someone who is a real UofL fan leading our department.”
Dale Cowper, Men’s and Women’s Cross Country/Track and Field Head Coach
“I’m excited to continue working with Vince. He has shown a tremendous commitment to our student-athletes and has a clear vision of how he intends to move this department forward. Vince has provided outstanding leadership through a difficult period of time.”
Dani Busboom Kelly, Women’s Volleyball Head Coach
“I am thrilled at the selection of Vince Tyra to lead the Cardinals’ athletics department. As interim, he has been an excellent communicator and shown selfless loyalty to the University of Louisville. He stepped up in a time of uncertainty and helped to clear a path for the athletics department. He has shown he supports all the sports, and I look forward to being on his team knowing he wants only the best for our athletes, fans, coaches and staff.”