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Pitt AD Heather Lyke Receives Cushman & Wakefield Athletics Director of the Year Award



Pitt athlete director Heather Lyke received the Cushman & Wakefield Athletics Director of the Year Award the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) announced on Monday.

The award goes to athletic directors who show their efforts to create positive improvements for their student athletes, campuses and the surrounding communities of which they serve. Lyke joins four other athletic directors who work in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) with Utah’s Mark Harlan, Kansas State’s Gene Taylor and Iowa State’s Jamie Pollard.

Lyke is soon to complete her sixth year as the director of athletics at Pitt and since she has joined, many programs have made considerable growth not seen before.

Men’s Soccer and Volleyball both made it three straight trips to the Elite Eight. Both teams also made their Final Fours, with Men’s Soccer making it to the College Cup for the second time in three seasons and Volleyball doing it for the second year in a row.

Men’s Cross Country juniors in Luke Henseler and Jack Miller both made it to the NCAA Championships, the first for the program since 1994.

Football finished with five straight wins and a classic last-second win over UCLA in the Sun Bowl to make it into the top 25 at the end of the season. That ranking made it two straight years the Panthers finished their season in the top 25 for the first time since 1982-83.

Women’s’ Soccer made it to their first ever NCAA Tournament and made it all the way to the Sweet 16 for their best season ever.

No. 1 redshirt senior Nino Bonaccorsi finished with a 21-0 season and a National Title at 197 pounds, the first to do both since his head coach Keith Gavin did it at 174 pounds in 2008.

Men’s Basketball ended a streak of six seasons below .500 and made it back to the NCAA Tournament and into the Round of 32. The Panthers won two games in the Tournament for the first time since 2009, when they made the Elite Eight.

Junior Ilse Steigenga earned First-Team All-American honors in the indoor long jump, the first Pitt woman to do so since Pitt Hall of Famer Trecia-Kaye Smith in 1999.

Men’s Swimming and Diving also had 12 competitors at the NCAA Championships, the largest representation ever for the program.

Lyke has rewarded coaches with extensions for their success, which includes Pat Narduzzi for Football, Dan Fisher for Volleyball, Gavin for Wrestling, Jay Vidovich of Men’s Soccer and Randy Waldrum of Women’s Soccer.

She also also played a large role in the Victory Heights Project, which will provide the programs outside of football and basketball with great athletic facilities all around.

At the head of this project is the new Arena and Sports Performing Center that will seat 3,000 for wrestling, volleyball and gymnastics and provide athletic facilities for 16 of the 19 programs and cheerleading/dance teams. This will replace the Fitzgerald Field House, which is over 70 years old.

Lyke will receive this award a the 58th Annual NACDA & Affiliates Convention on June 13 in Orlando, Fla.

She is a finalist for the Sports Business Journal Athletic Director of the Year award, which the organization will announce on May 24.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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1 year ago

Well deserved, Heather!! Thank you. Please, please stick around for a looong while.

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