PITTSBURGH — Pitt has extended the contract of athletic director Heather Lyke through the 2023-24 school year, chancellor Patrick Gallagher announced on Friday.
Lyke just completed her first full year at Pitt, but has already had a large impact on the character of the athletic department. In her tenure, she extended the contract of head football coach Pat Narduzzi, and hired new coaches for diving, gymnastics, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s soccer and wrestling.
“Heather is leading an ambitious charge to transform Pitt Athletics, and her success here is just beginning,” Gallagher’s statement read. “I am thrilled that she will continue to push our athletics programs to new heights—and spur positive change for our student-athletes and our university community—for years to come.”
Lyke particular impressed during the three-week search for a head men’s basketball coach by landing top Duke assistant Jeff Capel, a coach many didn’t think would leave Duke after he spurned offers from Arizona State and Georgia Tech in recent years. Lyke was a big part of that sales job, as Capel retold during his introductory press conference:
“When I met with Heather, with Chancellor Gallagher, with (associate A.D.) Chris (Hoppe), with (vice-chancellor) Geovette (Washington), when I when my wife and I walked out of the room after it was almost three hours, when we walked out of the room, we got to the car. I just said to her, ‘What do you think?’
“She said, ‘I was blown away.’
“I said, ‘Yeah, me too.’”
In addition to her hirings, Lyke also unveiled a dramatic new vision for Pitt’s on-campus sports facilities this week to be called Victory Heights. She also addressed new fan initiatives for the Petersen Events Center and Heinz Field.
“It has been a tremendously rewarding and fun first year at Pitt,” Lyke said. “But the best part is we are just getting started. As proud as we are about our history and tradition, Pitt’s future can be even greater. We are highly motivated to usher in a new golden era for Pitt athletics.”