Talking Leadership With Pittsburgh AD Heather Lyke

May 25th, 2018 | by Jonathan Yates
Talking Leadership With Pittsburgh AD Heather Lyke

Heather Lyke – Pittsburgh Director of Athletics

Pittsburgh Director of Athletics Heather Lyke sits down with CollegeAD’s Jonathan Yates to discuss a number of topics including Lyke’s first year on campus as well as the upcoming football matchup with Penn State. We’ve earmarked and highlighted several different topics and points throughout the interview that might be of most intrest to you. Yates and Lyke dive in on hiring, leadership, preperation, her plans for Pitt, and much more.

2:22-5:23 Hiring of coaches and staff

Now there’s an old saying in College Sports that good coach, great athletic director. Bad coach, bad search committee. You’ve got great coaches here and you’ve just hired Jeff Capel from one of the best programs. How did you pull that off?
I think when you have the opportunity to hire a head coach, I don’t know that there’s anything more important than what we do because those coaches impact the lives of our student-athletes every day directly. We sort of have an indirect impact in the administrative world. But coaches directly impact those lives. So you search the country and you rely on your network of people out there and your experiences and find who is either prepared, ready, anxious, to become head coach or has been doing it somewhere. I’ll just tell you that I think Pitt is a tremendous place to recruit to. The city of Pittsburgh, the people, our athletic department, and where we’re headed. I think that there’s a lot to offer, and being a part of the ACC, we have the opportunity to go and compete for ACC championships. And when you compete for ACC championships, you’re on a national stage and a platform to compete for NCAA championships. So, you want coaches who have that courage and have that confidence that they can come in and be a part of building it with us. So that’s Jeff.
8:38-10:18 Academic reputation and recruiting
With the school having a tremendous academic reputation, The ease of recruit players, coaches, and administrators, with a tremendous academic reputation.
10:18-11:41 Heather’s leadership style
Having “checked every box in athletics”, what has Lyke learned and what’s her leadership style?
11:41-12:52 Beliefs and philosophy
Lyke’s belief system and philosophy when it comes to her past successes.
13:21-14:43 The Pittsburgh community and fan base
Culture and a fight for the fan base.
16:21-18:21 Preparing student-athletes for what’s next
Preparing for life after college: sports administration and pursuing passion.
18:51-20:02 Title IX’s impact
Impact of Title XI on personal experience.
24:32- 26:17 Importance of internships and relationships for professionals
What was it like working for Mark McCormack, what was it like and how was the overall experience?
Unpaid internship, 2nd year of law school. Learn you have to sacrifice. Mark’s intro story: told them he got into the agent business because of relationships. Relationships will take you further than anything else. Relationships matter.
28:16-30:49 Goals for the next six-years
You’ve just signed a six-year contract. What do you hope to accomplish in the next 6 years?
Victory Heights – a facility master plan to renovate and redesign the whole athletic footprint on the upper campus. Possible, doable, necessary.

Jonathan Yates About Jonathan Yates
Jonathan Yates spent much of his career working for Members of Congress in a variety of press and legislative posts. Positions he has held working for Members of Congress and state legislators include Chief of Staff, General Counsel, Legislative Director, Press Secretary, and Legislative Assistant. His journalistic work has appeared in such periodicals as The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, Investor's Business Daily, and TheStreet, among others. He has degrees from Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and Georgetown University Law Center; and has also matriculated at the U.S. Naval War College and The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Jonathan also hosts The Culture of Sports You can follow Jonathan Yates on Twitter at @politicsports13

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