PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)- Pitt’s search for its athletic director came to an end on Monday when it held a press conference announcing Heather Lyke, who formerly held the same position at Eastern Michigan, as the new AD.
Lyke took the time to join “The Fan Morning Show” on Tuesday to talk about her new job and how she will improve the University of Pittsburgh athletically across all 19 sports.
One of the most glaring issues that fans see is with the football program and particularly, the lack of fans that attend home games. Lyke says that the football attendance will be a focus of her and her regime.
“I would say as the leader of the athletic department, it is a significant task and an opportunity for us to continue to build some pride in Pitt football,” said Lyke. “I think we have the right leader, obviously he’s a dynamic, passionate, talented coach and he’s putting together the right program with the right staff and it starts there. Getting people excited about the opportunity to come and see that caliber of team is certainly something we will be focused on.”
Lyke says that the right mentality will help create a culture of winning across all sports, including the most popular in football and basketball.
“We’re all in this together, certainly football and basketball drive the most attention as it should in many ways, but the reality is we can attract the best coaches and student athletes to our entire athletic department, ” said Lyke. “To me, again it’s about comprehensive excellence. I came from programs where if we’re going to wear the blue and gold, we’re going to go compete and expect to win. So, that’s the mentality that has to permeate throughout the entire culture. If you’re going to build a winning culture, it has to be everybody is all at that level of expectation.”
Lyke says that the coaches and entire athletic staff will all be evaluated regularly and held accountable to hold a high standard.
“We’re all constantly evaluating everybody and that’s part of the process is for me to come in and get to know our coaches and spend quality time with them to find out what their greatest challenges are, what their greats needs are and my job and our team within the athletic department’s job is to help support them,” said Lyke. “Everybody is being evaluated all the time and this is a great opportunity for us to come in and do that evaluation.”
Lyke believes that her skill sets and experiences she brings from her years at Ohio State as an assistant athletic director for 15 years and as the athletic director at Eastern Michigan since 2013 will help Pitt compete at a high level in the ACC.
“It’s about analyzing where we are and where we want to go,” Lyke said. “I’m a solution-oriented person, I’m a problem solver, you can find a way. It starts with the right level of leadership, so we’ve got to make sure we have the right coaches and the quality of student athletes that we’re recruiting are critical to that equation. But the reality is there’s nothing to say that you can’t, why not? I believe that we can, I think it’s about instilling a belief that we can continue to raise the bar and let’s go compete.”
You can hear the entire interview with new Pitt AD Heather Lyke on “The Fan Morning Show” below: