PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The University of Pittsburgh has named their successor to Scott Barnes as university athletic director.

Heather Lyke was announced at a Monday afternoon press conference as the new athletic director. With the announcement, she becomes the first woman to lead Pitt’s sports program.

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Lyke is very accomplished with 22 years of college experience at Ohio State, Cincinnati and most recently as athletic director at Eastern Michigan where she revitalized a department after years of decline.

Under her management, Eastern Michigan went from a doormat football team to bowl eligible for the first time in 29 years.

Before she got that top job, Lyke – who was born and raised in Canton, Ohio – spent 15 years at Ohio State and then Cincinnati

She succeeds Barnes who left Pitt to take a job at Oregon State.

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She is the university’s third athletic director in three years, and in the process, made some Pitt athletic history.

“This week, and this is a coincidence, our student government board had designated this Women Empowerment Week, and I should note that in the 106 years that Pitt has had a full-time athletic director, this is the first time we’ve had a woman run athletics here at Pitt, and so a new barrier has been broken,” said Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher.

Lyke said she got the news on St. Patrick’s Day, and now she can’t wait to get to work.

“As I drove through the Fort Pitt Tunnel, across the Fort Pitt Bridge, the view took my breathe away, and I haven’t even done it at night yet, and as I crossed the bridge, I could not help but think about where I had been and where I get to go, and more importantly, I couldn’t help but think about the extraordinary people who have impacted my life and the opportunity to expand the huddle and impact more,” Lyke said.

Lyke is only the fifth women to lead a sports program in all five of the power conferences combined. She also joins Sandy Barbour of Penn State in the same capacity.

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