LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Vince Tyra hopes to add some continuity to an unstable situation, no matter how long — or brief — his time is as Louisville's acting athletic director.
The university foundation board member Tuesday was named the acting replacement for athletic director Tom Jurich, who is on paid administrative leave as the school addresses its involvement in a federal bribery investigation of men's basketball recruits.
University interim President Greg Postel announced Tyra's hiring nearly a week after Postel placed Jurich and basketball coach Rick Pitino on administrative leave following the school's acknowledgement of inclusion in the federal probe .
"Whether you want to call it acting or interim, that's something for Greg," Tyra said. "I'm just taking it as I'm filling the role for now until we find out what the long-term fix is."
Jurich is on paid leave and his status will be reviewed at the Oct. 18 trustee meeting. Pitino is on unpaid leave, and the athletic board voted Monday to proceed with firing him after 16 seasons as Cardinals coach.
Tyra joined the University of Louisville Foundation, a fundraising arm of the school, as a board member in February. The Louisville native and businessman is the son of Cardinals basketball great Charlie Tyra and played baseball at rival Kentucky.
Postel praised Tyra's business experience and his success in restoring donor confidence as finance chairman of the Foundation. The president believes he will succeed with athletics.
"I am confident that Vince will have the ability to work with me, our coaches, our athletics staff and our athletes to promote stability, to promote confidence in our programs and to ensure to ensure the success of our athletic endeavors," Postel said.
Tyra's immediate priority is meeting with Louisville student-athletes and coaches including interim men's basketball coach David Padgett, who was named as Pitino's replacement on Friday. The new AD also planned to contact Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford.
"Those athletes need to understand there needs to be continuity here," said Tyra, adding that he and Jurich have similar philosophies and passion when it comes to athletics.
He added that he didn't know about the extent of the federal complaint against Louisville but planned to learn more in his new job. He also planned to learn more about the school's sponsorship extension with Adidas.
Postel criticized Jurich in his disciplinary letter to the AD for failing to update the athletic board about that extension. He also called "unacceptable" the level of misconduct and alleged criminal activity, as well as the negative attention brought to Louisville.
Jurich's lawyer, Alison M. Stemler, disputed Postel's allegations in a letter that also questioned whether school's disciplinary action might violate a contract clause.
Messages left with Pitino's attorney, Steve Pence, have not been returned.
As Tyra prepared to leave the news conference, he was greeted by Mark Jurich, the son of Tom Jurich and a Louisville senior associate AD for development. They talked briefly and seemed friendly, but Mark Jurich politely declined to reveal what the two discussed.
"This day belongs to Vince," he said.
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