As director of athletics, Heather Lyke leads a University of Pittsburgh Athletic Department that encompasses 19 intercollegiate sports programs with nearly 470 student-athletes who compete in the prestigious Atlantic Coast Conference. The department also oversees the Pitt Band and the University’s Cheer and Dance Teams.
Since her arrival in March 2017, Lyke has dramatically reenergized Pitt Athletics. The Sports Business Journal recognized this by naming her one of five nominees for 2021 Division I Athletic Director of the Year.
During her tenure, Lyke has recruited eight new head coaches, debuted an intercollegiate sport at Pitt (women's lacrosse) and directed a dynamic rebrand of the University’s athletic marks and logos. She unveiled Pitt Studios, the department’s state-of-the-art broadcast production facilities that helped launch the ACC Network in August 2019 and support the University’s first-ever broadcast and media studies curriculum. The football team won its first ACC championship, the volleyball program saw its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament's Final Four, and men's soccer earned a berth in the NCAA's Elite Eight.
In January 2020, the department announced the launching of its Victory Heights initiative, a series of state-of-the-art athletics projects that will provide Pitt student-athletes with national-caliber competition, training and sports performance and medicine facilities.
Lyke has launched several diversity and inclusion initiatives for Pitt Athletics, including Panthers United, a committee of more than 45 student-athletes, coaches, administrators and campus partners that develops action items to foster a culture of inclusion. These include Pitt Athletics’ Voting Matters campaign and community service programming.
Before joining Pitt, Lyke served as vice president and director of athletics at Eastern Michigan University, where she led a department that sponsored 21 varsity sports. Under her leadership, the football program returned to a bowl game for the first time in 29 years.
From 1998 to 2013, Lyke worked at The Ohio State University, where she oversaw 10 of the school’s 36 athletic programs and supervised the sports performance division, which included the strength and conditioning coaches, athletic training staff, sports medicine and sports psychology staff.
During Lyke’s Ohio State tenure, the Big Ten Network tapped her expertise as a color analyst for softball telecasts from 2009 to 2013.
Prior to her role at Ohio State, Lyke served at the University of Cincinnati as the assistant athletic director for compliance and senior woman administrator from 1996 to 1998. She began her career at the National Collegiate Athletic Association as an intern in the enforcement and student-athlete reinstatement department from 1995 to 1996.
A native of Canton, Ohio, Lyke was a scholarship student-athlete at the University of Michigan, where she captained the Wolverines’ Big Ten champion softball team, lettered for four years and became an All-Academic Big Ten honoree.
Lyke holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Michigan and a Juris Doctor from the University of Akron School of Law.
Beyond Pitt, she provides leadership for several prominent committees and professional organizations. Beginning in 2022-23, Lyke will serve as chair of the ACC Director of Athletics group as well as the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee. She serves on the executive committee and as board chair for LEAD1, which represents the 131 athletic directors at the FBS level. Lyke is on the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics’ Executive Committee and the board of directors for Women Leaders for College Sports, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and P3R.
She and her husband David have three children: Elle, Sophie and Eli.