LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Sources close to Louisville athletics director Vince Tyra and the Louisville athletics department have told WDRB News that in the past 48 hours Tyra has gone from surprise candidate to a leading contender for the athletics director job at Florida State University.
Monday could be an eventful day for U of L athletics, with a special meeting of the school's board of trustees set for 5 p.m. The school has not confirmed the purpose of that meeting, other than to discuss personnel matters.
Sources close to U of L say that if Tyra makes a move, deputy athletics director Josh Heird would take over as interim until a national search could be conducted.
Tyra has been rumored to be mulling a move ever since the suspension of men's basketball coach Chris Mack in late August, a move for which he took responsibility, but which sources close to the situation said originated with the board of trustees and office of university president Dr. Neeli Bendapudi.
Friction between Tyra and the university president was reported to be simmering even before the Mack situation. Dr. Bendapudi voiced her support for Tyra shortly after the Mack suspension, and on Saturday, amid a growing chorus of dissatisfied fans after Tyra's Friday vote of confidence in Satterfield, released a statement that said, "Decisions about personnel matters within the athletic department are made by the Athletic Director. I have faith in Vince Tyra’s leadership of the department, and I support his decision in this matter.”
The last time Tyra spoke publicly, he told WDRB News that he was encouraged for the future of the school's football program after a Friday sit-down with football coach Scott Satterfield.
Within hours, the first reports of Tyra's surprise involvement with the Florida State job began to circulate.
Fan dissatisfaction has run high at Louisville since a blowout loss to rival Kentucky ended a 6-6 season for the football Cardinals, who accepted a bid to the Dec. 28 First Responder Bowl in Dallas on Sunday.
Tyra has not responded to a text message about the FSU reports.
The Louisville native and son of Louisville Hall of Fame basketball player Charlie Tyra became acting athletics director at U of L on Oct 3, 2017, in the wake of the university's suspension of AD Tom Jurich.
Tyra came to U of L from a position as operating partner for Southfield Capital, a post he had held since 2007, and an advisor to ISCO Industries Inc. where he was formerly the president. He also had served as the president of Retail and Activewear for Fruit of the Loom.
He also had served on the board of the U of L Foundation and was a key figure in searching through that organization's financial issues, eventually service as chair of its finance committee.
He was elevated to the athletic director's role permanently in March of 2018. During his Louisville tenure, he has hired basketball coach Chris Mack, fired football coach Bobby Petrino and hired Satterfield as his successor.
He also has navigated ongoing NCAA investigations into men's basketball and the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, for which he received praise for his quick action to mitigate financial losses, and became a resource for other athletic departments in the ACC and around the nation.
He crafted U of L's strategy on Name, Image and Likeness, and worked with Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on drafting an executive order that allowed universities in the state to abide by new NIL regulations on the first day they became active.
Tyra has two years remaining on a contract at U of L, and though some sources around the program said they thought an extension offer could be in the works, others around Tyra conceded that he has seen the working situation with university leadership increasingly untenable and expected him to seek a move, whether it was to another school or back into the world of business.
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