Education Sports

The University of Louisville has appointed an acting athletic director.

Louisville businessman Vince Tyra, a member of the U of L Foundation board and the son of the late U of L basketball star Charlie Tyra, will take over the duties of Tom Jurich.

Tyra said Tuesday that he would resign from the U of L Foundation board.

Jurich was suspended with pay last week after it was revealed that the U of L men’s basketball program is included in a federal complaint alleging that high school recruits were given bribes to attend schools sponsored by the Adidas apparel company.

Tyra, 51, is a partner in the private equity firm Southfield Capital and has ties to several other businesses. He’s also a part-owner of Louisville’s minor league soccer club.

Tyra’s appointment was announced Tuesday by U of L Interim President Greg Postel.

“Vince Tyra is an exceptional leader who will provide stability to our athletics department,” Postel said in a news release. “His success in business, his athletic background and his close ties to the university and the athletics department will be important to the continuing success of our program.”

When asked for comment on the $160 million sponsorship deal between U of L and Adidas, Tyra said he hadn’t reviewed it. He said it was “valuable in many ways” and that an Adidas spokesperson had reached out to him for a meeting.

As reported by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting earlier Tuesday, the deal could be in jeopardy.

The 10-year sponsorship agreement isn’t set to start until next summer. But a pending FBI investigation, dwindling basketball recruit classes and possible NCAA sanctions could all impact its value — if the extension even survives long enough to go into effect.

U of L Interim President Greg Postel challenged the contract in a letter last week to the athletic director, saying Tom Jurich and Adidas negotiated it “without timely or appropriate consultation” with Postel. The contract extension also includes some key escape hatches for the apparel company in the event of a major catastrophe, not unlike the basketball scandal unfurling for Adidas and U of L right now.

U of L basketball coach Rick Pitino remains on unpaid leave in the wake of the federal probe, and Postel has been given the go-ahead by the university’s athletic board to begin the process of firing him.

Assistant Coach David Padgett was appointed interim head coach last week.

This post has been updated.

Rick Howlett is WFPL's Broadcast Managing Editor and also produces feature and general assignment radio stories.