Vince Tyra shares Tom Jurich’s passion for Louisville athletics

Vince Tyra’s top priority personally and professionally is to see UofL athletics continue to thrive.

We may never know how many people were interviewed by the school to fill the acting athletic director’s role during Tom Jurich’s suspension.

Nor should we care because Vince Tyra appears to have been an amazing hire.

Uniquely qualified in so many ways, for either the short-term or the long haul, ready to totally  immerse himself in his new post as Acting Athletic Director at the University of Louisville.

He’s a life-long UofL fan who closely follows the school’s academic and athletic programs, wanting to take them to the highest levels. He hails from a UofL family and the son of the basketball program’s first consensus All-American basketball player.

Tyra is congratulated by his wife Lori following the press conference.

And he admires and respects Tom Jurich for what he has accomplished at UofL, considering Jurich among the best in the business.

“I’m passionate about UofL athletics, I grew up a Cardinals’ fan, raised my kids as Cardinals’ fans,” he said during a Tuesday press conference  at Bigelow Hall on Belknap Campus. “Tom is a good friend. His legacy is all around us. While this has been a difficult period for us, it’s a time for our fan base to dig in even deeper. It’s a time for us to be even more supportive.

“While this is a difficult process of what we’re going through, we have a terrific set of athletic programs all across the board. One of them may have a flat tire right now, but we will prop it back up. I’m looking forward to work with David Padgett.”

Tyra’s 80-year old mother still attends every UofL basketball game and he said she cheers like her late husband Charlie Tyra is still playing for the Cardinals. His father averaged more 20 points and 20 rebounds per game during his junior and senior seasons, leading Louisville to a National Invitation Tournament championship in his junior year.

Vince has blazed his own trail, has been enormously successful in business, serving as Chief Executive Officer for five companies, most recently as operating partner in Southfield Capital and as an advisor to ISCO Industries where he served as president. He was also president of retail and active wear at Fruit of the Loom.

Interim President Greg Postel listens intently during Tyra’s remarks.

When a new board was appointed for the University of Louisville Foundation last year, Tyra was named chairman of the ULF’s finance committee, establishing new guidelines to control spending and to restore credibility with major university donors.

After leaving a ULF board meeting last week, Tyra walked down to the baseball field where he met with UofL Coach Dan McDonnell. “We stood on the field and just talked. I know he’s a leader among our coaches. We’ve got a great group of coaches, many of them have been here more than 10 years. I’m going to enjoy working with all of them.”

It was obvious during his introductory press conference that Vince Tyra is an individual who has considered himself a part of the University of Louisville family. He was convincing when he said very much appreciates what Tom Jurich has done for the school.

One got the feeling that while he would devote a great deal of energy to the job and probably be enormously successful, Vince Tyra would have no problem stepping aside if Tom Jurich were allowed to return and continue his life’s work. They share a common interest, first and foremost, in seeing UofL thrive and prosper again.

Hermann’s future uncertain at Rutgers

Don’t look now but Julie Hermann may not be the Athletic Director at Rutgers very long. Some alleged incidents from her past are coming back to haunt her in a big way.

Hermann was due to leave the University of Louisville in mid-June but issues from her term as volleyball coach at Tennessee have surfaced after being totally submerged during her 15 years at UofL, as Forbes Magazine reported Sunday:

A letter written [in 1996] by all 15 players on that team said Hermann called them “whores, alcoholics and learning disabled”. [They said she] forced them to do 100 sideline push ups as punishment during matches and wouldn’t allow them to shower or eat after losses. [They also said] she was physical, yanking players by their jerseys and slapping them.

Ginger Hineline
Ginger Hineline

In addition, the University of Tennessee was ordered to pay $150,000 as the result of a lawsuit filed by Ginger Hineline, former assistant volleyball coach to Hermann, who said she was fired because she became pregnant during the volleyball season. Interesting that Julie had been a bridesmaid during Hineline’s wedding a few months earlier, even catching the bridal bouquet during the wedding party. Must have been pretty close at the time, huh?

The east coast media is having a field day with this, piling on of course, especially after the uproar following the dismissal of Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice and his boss for alleged physical and verbal abuse of players.  And it doesn’t help that Hermann can’t seem to remember many details from her days at Tennessee, including being involved in the wedding.

An overwhelming 86% of 2,465 respondents to a Newark Star-Ledger on Sunday indicated that she should be turned away. Gov. Chris Christie is getting involved. Her days would seem to be numbered.

So the question may come back to Tom Jurich and the University of Louisville where her boss praised her for “impeccable” behavior during the past 15 years. Plenty of time for a person to have learned from real-life experiences, adapting new approaches, maturing professionally.

She’s still on campus we presume. Should Hermann be allowed to stay on in her current position?

Hermann was just a few years out of college when she assumed the Tennessee job. She was on the wrong end of a 34-62 won-lost record, and losing evokes a lot of raw emotions for coaches and players, as well as fans. Everything gets out of kilter, crazy things happen. Fortunately, she got out of coaching.

If Hermann is rejected by Rutgers, we suspect the question of whether she will stay at UofL will be determined by how she performed behind the scenes at the University. Rutgers, for all we know, may have been doing UofL a favor. As fans, we simply don’t know, not being privy to the interaction she had with coaches, associates, subordinates and students at UofL.

Those issues may have to be addressed if she is not welcome in Piscataway and wants her old job back at Louisville.