Vincent Tyra, a Louisville native with strong business credentials, was named as the University of Louisville’s Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics and Director of Athletics on March 26, 2018. He had previously served in an interim role leading Cardinal Athletics for six months prior to his appointment.
Tyra (pronounced TIE-ray) has been highly active since assuming his position, using his business acumen, passion for Cardinal Athletics and background in athletics to lead UofL during a period of transition. He has provided leadership while continuing to move the Cardinals forward in all sports, building upon the positive legacy of previous athletics successes, and taking the time to personally reach out to the UofL fan base and donors on multiple fronts.
Tyra has taken steps to stabilize the future of the Cardinals by extending the contracts for key UofL coaches and making moves to efficiently restructure the administrative and support staff, with an emphasis on enhancing the student-athlete experience for the Cardinals. He has monitored UofL’s ongoing capital projects, including a Cardinal Stadium expansion completed in August 2018, as well as constructing and outfitting a broadcast center on campus in advance of the launch of the ACC Network in August 2019.
During Tyra’s first year, Louisville ranked 30th in the nation in the Learfield Sports Director’s Cup national all-sports standings, the Cardinals’ fifth straight season in the nation’s top 30. Seventeen UofL teams or individuals from Cardinal teams participated in post-season competition.
Cardinal athletic teams posted a collective 3.204 GPA during the 2017-18 academic year. Five UofL athletic teams — men’s and women’s basketball, women’s cross country, and men’s and women’s golf – received public recognition awards for ranking in the top 10 percent in the most recent Academic Progress Rate.
UofL student-athletes amassed over 9,000 service hours through the CardsCARE community outreach program in 2017-18, a total which ranked among the top five in the nation in the NCAA Team Works Helper Helper Community Service Challenge.
Prior to his appointment at UofL, Tyra served as an operating partner since 2007 for Southfield Capital, a Greenwich, Conn. based private equity firm that invests in lower middle market companies. In his role there, Tyra served as chairman of the board of numerous investments to include Hallcon Corp, RCR International, Total Fleet Solutions, Dealer Financial Services, and BioPharm Communications. Tyra most recently served as chairman of the board and interim Chief Executive Officer of Elite Medical, a company based in Clearwater, Fla.
Tyra was a corporate advisor from 2008-2017 for ISCO Industries, a privately held piping supply company based in Louisville, Ky. He also formerly served as the president of Retail and Activewear for Fruit of the Loom in Bowling Green, Ky.
Tyra has served as a member of the University of Louisville Foundation Board of Directors and chaired the organization’s Finance Committee. He joined the board in February 2017, but stepped down from the position after his appointment with Cardinal Athletics. He has served on the board of Industrial Services of America, a Louisville-based scrap metal recycling company.
A former standout athlete himself, Tyra graduated from Trinity High School in Louisville in 1984 as the state’s top baseball prospect and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame. He was a four-year baseball letterman (1985-88) and two-time team captain at the University of Kentucky, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in health administration in 1989. He started 37 career games as a pitcher for Kentucky, tied for 14th at UK.
A long-time supporter of UofL Athletics, his father Charlie Tyra was a consensus All-America at UofL, led the Cardinals to the 1956 National Invitation Tournament Championship and is one of four players with his jersey number (No. 8) retired at UofL, along with Wes Unseld, Darrell Griffith and Pervis Ellison.
Tyra and his wife Lori have five children: Sydney, Audrey, Olivia, Spencer and Cooper.