The ACC now has two of only four total female ADs leading Power Five programs
Pittsburgh’s hiring of former Eastern Michigan athletic director Heather Lyke is another step in the right direction for women running Division I athletic departments, specifically at the Power Five level.
The Sports Business Journal notes that Lyke is the fourth female AD among college athletics’ highest rung. Debbie Yow (NC State), Sandy Barbour (Penn State) and Jennifer Cohen (Washington) are the other three. That would mean the ACC alone accounts for half of female ADs among the 65 Power Five schools with the SEC and Big 12 still the only conferences without one.
“Heather Lyke’s track record exemplifies her dedication to student-athletes. She has a passion for success in the classroom, on the playing field and in life after graduation,” said Pitt chancellor Patrick Gallagher in a statement released by the program. “She is the perfect person to lead our Department of Athletics into a new era of excellence, and I am thrilled to welcome her and her family to Pitt.”
Lyke’s track record is definitely noteworthy, especially at Eastern Michigan. EMU’s football program saw a 100 percent increase “in total season ticket growth from 2014 to 2016,” according to Lyke’s bio. Fundraising increased significantly as well.