What drew Lyke to Pitt? What are her goals? Who influenced her?

Chris Peak, Publisher

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Pitt introduced Heather Lyke as the University’s new Athletic Director on Monday, and while the press conference covered a lot of topics, here are three areas she emphasized.

“Number one: the people. The opportunity to serve incredible people with integrity. Number two: the tradition. 230 years of tradition yet a place filled with an innovative spirit and vision; I honor that tradition, and yet I’m inspired to innovate and get better every day.

“Number three: the expectations. It’s a preeminent university with academic prestige, and it’s also a platform for our coaches and our 475 student-athletes to compete for ACC and national championships. And fourth: it’s the belief. It’s the challenge of instilling a belief that we can compete with the best. When we wear the blue and gold, we’ll wear it with pride, we’ll expect to win and we’ll prepare for success.”

“One is to serve our student-athletes. We’re going to surround them with the absolute best coaches and teachers we can. We will be committed to them having an opportunity to earn a meaningful degree at Pitt - or degrees at Pitt. And we want them to win championships and develop them into the leaders who become proud alumni of the university.

“Secondly, we need to make sure that our coaches have the resources necessary to be successful, and we need to look for creative ways to advance their programs for success.

“And third, and most importantly, we’ve got to create an environment of comprehensive excellence. And here’s what I mean by comprehensive excellence: everybody who touches this program impacts the lives of our student-athletes. Just think about it: every single person on our facility staff, the sports medicine team that treats our student-athletes, the fans who come and cheer loudly, who buy Pitt script gear, and the donors who invest and believe in our vision. We cannot do this alone, and I look forward to crossing each bridge to build a championship culture together.”

Former Cincinnati AD Bob Goin:

“He taught me about hard work, accountability and building genuine relationships, and I bring those things to Pitt.”

Former Ohio State AD Andy Geiger

“He was a visionary and influential leader. He demonstrated integrity when he said that the decisions we make impact the lives of other people’s children - other people’s children. This is an incredible responsibility to carry with us, and I will carry it every day at Pitt.”

Current Ohio State AD Gene Smith

“My mentor at Ohio State, and he continues to provide guidance for me in my years as an athletic director. Gene has challenged me, developed me as a leader and given me the opportunity to learn from him. He paved the way and is an outstanding mentor to so many in the business, and I am blessed to be one of them.”

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