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Who is Vince Tyra? Breaking down FSU AD candidate

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The Louisville athletic director has been linked to Florida State

Louisville v Miami Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Last week, Florida State Seminoles athletic director David Coburn announced that he’d be retiring from his position, effective at the end of the spring 2022 semester or as soon as the university found his replacement.

As a variety of names bubbled up in related to the search, one started to appear more often than others — current Louisville Cardinals athletic director Vince Tyra. Multiple national names, including Andrea Adelson from ESPN, Pat Forde from Sports Illustrated and Pete Thamel from Yahoo! Sports.

From our Louisville sister site, Card Chronicle:

According to several reports, including those from Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and WDRB’s Eric Crawford, an untenable relationship between Tyra and U of L president Neeli Bendapudi as well as others in positions of power at the university have played a large part in Tyra’s decision.

The common thought surrounding this move seems to be that Florida State is having some financial difficulties, and Tyra is seen as having done an impressive job balancing U of L’s budget during his time here.

I don’t know ... the whole thing feels very strange to be, and that seems to be the basic reaction from the fan bases on both sides as well. So it goes.

Tyra has served as the Cardinals’ AD since 2018, when he replaced former director Tom Jurich, who after 20 years in the position lost his job due to his role in Louisville’s pay-for-play corruption scandal. He’s played a role in two major hires for the Cardinals — football coach Scott Satterfield and basketball coach Chris Mack.

His full bio, from Lousiville:

Vincent Tyra, a Louisville native with strong business credentials, was named as the University of Louisville’s Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics and Director of Athletics on March 26, 2018. He had previously served in an interim role leading Cardinal Athletics for six months prior to his appointment in that role on Oct. 3, 2017.

Tyra (pronounced TIE-ray) has been highly active since assuming his position, using his business acumen, passion for Cardinal Athletics and background in athletics to advance UofL onward. He has provided leadership while continuing to move the Cardinals forward in all sports, building upon the positive legacy of previous athletics successes, and taking the time to personally reach out to the UofL fan base and donors on multiple fronts through improved customer service.

Tyra has instilled strong principles with established core beliefs and goals to drive the essence of the Cardinals’ athletics program moving forward. He has taken steps to stabilize the future of the Cardinals by extending the contracts for key UofL coaches and adding new ones while making moves to efficiently restructure the administrative and support staff, all with an emphasis on enhancing the student-athlete experience for the Cardinals. Among those astute head coaching hires are men’s basketball’s Chris Mack and football’s Scott Satterfield, both of whom have had early success.

Tyra’s leadership during the pandemic has been apparent, moving quickly in the spring of 2020 to plan for budgetary adjustments and developing protocols to get Cardinal student-athletes back on campus and into competition, well ahead of most athletic departments.

Since his arrival, Tyra has put an emphasis on major capital projects and currently has several upgrades in progress. The department is embarking on a Women’s Athletics Capital Campaign and have received major gifts for an indoor practice baseball facility and Denny Crum Hall, a $23.5 million 128-bed residence hall that will house both UofL students and student-athletes. A a new tailgate destination for UofL football fans opened in 2021 with The Alley by Buffalo Construction, Inc., and UofL is in the first stages of adding wifi service to Cardinal Stadium.

UofL’s Cardinal Stadium expansion was completed in August 2018, as well as the construction and outfitting of a broadcast center on campus in advance of the launch of the ACC Network in August 2019.

Louisville has ranked among the top 35 schools in the nation in the Learfield Sports Director’s Cup national all-sports standings in eight straight seasons the Cardinals, including each of the last four under Tyra’s leadership.

UofL captured four ACC titles in 2020-21, the most since joining the league in 2014. Men’s swimming and diving matched its highest-ever finish, ranking fifth in the NCAA Championship in 2021, with two national championship performances.

Women’s track & field captured its third NCAA individual champion in school history as Makenli Forrest won the NCAA indoor weight throw national title. The field hockey program reached its first Final Four, while volleyball reached the NCAA Sweet 16 for the second straight year.

Cardinal athletic teams have achieved impressive academic results, posting a collective 3.289 GPA during the most recent 2021 Spring semester, with 428 student-athletes earning a 3.0 GPA or higher and 273 capturing a 3.5 or better GPA.

The Cardinals have been generous with their service time as UofL finished second in the 2020-21 NCAA Division I Team Works Award Competition for outstanding community service. UofL has ranked among the top five nationally in all seven years of the competition.

Tyra’s efforts have strengthened UofL’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, through the departmental goals and values statements and the creation of the Cardinals S.O.A.R. (Strategically Organizing Against Racism) Committee. The committee works to provide educational opportunities and resources to enhance knowledge and empower action; create brave and safe spaces to build and sustain a supportive anti-racist community; and implement initiatives to assist and serve underrepresented and historically marginalized groups.

Prior to his appointment at UofL, Tyra served as an operating partner since 2007 for Southfield Capital, a Greenwich, Conn. based private equity firm that invests in lower middle market companies. In his role there, Tyra served as chairman of the board of numerous investments to include Hallcon Corp, RCR International, Total Fleet Solutions, Dealer Financial Services, and BioPharm Communications. Tyra most recently served as chairman of the board and interim Chief Executive Officer of Elite Medical, a company based in Clearwater, Fla.

Tyra was a corporate advisor from 2008-2017 for ISCO Industries, a privately held piping supply company based in Louisville, Ky. He also formerly served as the president of Retail and Activewear for Fruit of the Loom in Bowling Green, Ky.

Tyra has served as a member of the University of Louisville Foundation Board of Directors and chaired the organization’s Finance Committee. He joined the board in February 2017, but stepped down from the position after his appointment with Cardinal Athletics. He has served on the board of Industrial Services of America, a Louisville-based scrap metal recycling company.

A former standout athlete himself, Tyra graduated from Trinity High School in Louisville in 1984 as the state’s top baseball prospect and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. He was a four-year baseball letterman (1985-88) and two-time team captain at the University of Kentucky, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in health administration in 1989. He started 37 career games as a pitcher for Kentucky, tied for 14th at UK.

A long-time supporter of UofL Athletics, his father Charlie Tyra was a consensus All-America at UofL, led the Cardinals to the 1956 National Invitation Tournament Championship and is one of four players with his jersey number (No. 8) retired at UofL, along with Wes Unseld, Darrell Griffith and Pervis Ellison.

Tyra and his wife Lori have five children: Sydney, Audrey, Olivia, Spencer and Cooper.