Here is a very quick submittal from long time POV commenter “Ike” (2,068 comments!).
Right off the bat I have to say that I don’t have much of a clue what our AD Heather Lyke has or hasn’t done so far in her first year. Well, other than her hiring a wrestling team head coach. So this piece will be about our opinions of here so far like most blog comments are. Our own opinions.
BTW, I really like Keith Gavin the new PITT wrestling coach. Watch out for this young team in a couple short years. He has a young team with a very good recruiting class along with a couple local transfer’s with very good resume’s.
The one minor yet important faux pas Lyke committed that seemed dumb at the time then expanded into a complete media disaster would be the free pop/soda/Fanta offer to any students who stuck around to the games end. That was a cheap and small minded idea from the beginning. She has to be held accountable for that as it was a dead-end thought that seems amateurish at best and in turn reflected poorly on Pitt’s football program as it became the butt of many jokes both locally and nationally.
So that’s it for my reality thoughts and opinions on Heather. We all understand what a message board, blog or any social media type were created for which mostly is consisting of our own slanted thoughts. No need for any proof here as to what is actually being done behind closed doors. I will say that although the public relations door should be slightly ajar like our car door at times but I would also contend that maybe we should pause and be patient until this coming season and see if there are any surprises in store for us all.
Remember, surprises can be good or bad.
I keep hearing and reading that Heather is a ‘puppet’ or “she hasn’t done enough about the basketball program”. Is this accurate? I think we should all realize that firing a head coach mid-season is not an everyday practice in any college sports. Is it realistic to think Heather is to blame for not doing the unthinkable?
Not to be political but this isn’t a reality show where she can just point her finger and say ” You’re Fired” and not expect to see some backfire from the allegiance of all college coaches. This is college sports no matter what the rest of the country and schools do. Remember, PITT has that mobile home window that is all too small. (nothing against mobile home owners)
Ms. Lyke came to PITT when real life PITT turmoil was all about. Hey, a little like Kevin Stallings? Thrown into the fire or a pit of Panther Fans. I guess it’s ok to scrutinize all things an Heather does, doesn’t or is supposed to do even though we may not know what she is actually doing.
Just last wednesday, Heather didn’t attend the PITT – Wake Forest BB game to go to a Dapper Dan dinner. People were outraged. Where was Heather? Was it proper to have an AD not attending a PITT hoop game? Unthinkable right? But she was at a PITT dinner/function along with several big-time PITT donors doing what she is hired to do. Trying to raise money for our precious PITT sports teams… I guess it’s ok to try to get inside other people’s minds and jobs because that is what we do on message boards/blogs and other media type outlets. But that doesn’t mean we know anything at all by the day’s end.
I don’t have to wonder what it feels like to have people up in your face about how you are doing your job. It sucks but it does go with the territory.
69 thoughts on “So Who Wants to Talk About Heather Lyke?”
KS is her problem now
Her top responsibilities are hiring coaches and fundraising
Its tough to fundraise when you have a hot mess
So she has no choice but to find a replacement
Basketball is losing millions and there is no quick turnaround if she continues the status quo
Wrestling might work out
Mens soccer was genius and a bit of luck
Extending Narduzzi and not getting in his way is probably a good thing
But lets see what she is made of in these next few weeks
And lets see if she hides behind the cover of a search committee
Otherwise she is a puppet
agree on all points
Right or wrong, I suspect Mrs. Lyke will be defined by her action or inaction with regard to the BB HC decision after this season
This is her first big decision. Her legacy at Pitt will be defined by it.
Dokish is going to have his top picks for replacements soon.
I’ll post the link.
But I favor a proven coach, younger and with ties to the East.
Got to look for a good fit and a coach that has rebuilt programs
Because Pitt’s has been pretty much burned to the ground right now.
But in basketball a rebuild can happen quickly
TX, Dokish isn’t any authority and his opinions carry no gravity. He’s frequently wrong both in his predictions and positions.
Dokish was a rather strident defender of KS the past two seasons frequently casting those who didn’t support KS as unreasonable and ignorant, kind of like Scott Barnes.
it will be interesting to see his picks. I’m sure at least 1 of his 10 cant be bad and i Know Hurley is one of them. Dokish came around but yes I didnt like his demeaning of those who could reasonably argue against the hire and for giving KS a 3rd year. He’s nothing close to Scotty Boy.
Dokish is a cheerleader no doubt, but he also has been a good source of information of Pitt sports, I have not agreed with him many times but also learned a lot from both his twitter and his blog. When I have the time, I check all Pitt sources …. PSN, Cardiac Hill, DiPaola and PPG twitter are among my daily checks.
I posted this list earlier this morning on the UVA thread –
Last week someone posted a challenge to list ten coaches we thought Pitt could draw to replace KS. Here is my list after sorting through the FBI mess –
-1. Eric Musselman – Nevada (ranked in top 15 and probably too much of a reach for Pitt with all of the openings that might happen post-FBI 20)
-2. Mark Schmitt – St. Bonaventure (ranked just outside the top 25)
-3. Johnny Dawkins – UCF (former Duke G)
-4. Nate Oats – Buffalo (if you can win in Buffalo, you can win at Pitt)
-5. Leon Rice – Boise State
-6. John Becker – Vermont
-7. Chris Jans – New Mexico State
-8. Steve Wojo… – Marquette (former Duke PG)
-9. T.J. Otzelberger – South Dakota State
-10. Earl Grant – College of Charleston (recruiting in ACC country already)
Ten up and comers in my book.
^^^Should have been Erie Express ^^^
That’s three screen names now… I like WoJo if not for anything but a last name you can rhyme a hundres words with.
it wont be chris jans
hes the guy that got fired for being drunk in public and making passes at college girls in bars. All on video. google it.
TX – that’s why I put my list out there – to help you all dwindle the list down to the right fitting candidate.
Heather – so far two of my ten should be eliminated from your call list /
Musselman – a poster commented Eric has a home in the Bay Area from his stint with the Warriors.
Jans – video evidence of public drunkenness and making passes at college aged women.
Is PittPOV Heather’s search committee? It just might be. I think we all could do a better job than the last one. 🙂
Someone young, proven as a rebuilder, ties to the East, head coaching experience, and a good ‘fit’ would be the ideal candidate. But does he exist???
The soda thing is not new. It may not have been advertised but at least two seasons ago they were giving soda and a snack for kids who stuck it out. This isn’t something she created.
Stallings career at Pitt needs to end (despite me clammering one month ago that he should be given another year).
If Heather-the-Presenter does not cut bait on this, then she, too, will be gone in a few years.
No matter how much debt is incurred, allowing the attendance inside the Pete to dwindle to nothin, will be unconscionable.
It’s bad when the students put bags over their heads. I have never seen that happen at Pitt. Even in the Williard or Majors2 years. Heather should hand out barf bags.
I keep reading that Pitt is “losing millions” because of the steep decline in attendance. But, is that really true, or an exaggeration? No doubt the revenue has taken a hit, but you can’t base the loss on just attendance, for example, 2,500 who show up vs. a potential full house of 12,500. To get a better picture of the real loss, you need to know how many season tickets were sold. Let’s say 8,000 this year, which would mean Pitt has those dollars already, even if, let’s say, 5,500 of those ticket holders don’t show up. The really big hit to revenue, if Stallings stays, will be next year when thousands of season tickets are not renewed. I think that has got to be the driving reason to replace Stallings now: hire a dynamic up-and-comer, prevent the hemorrhaging of season ticket money, and rebuild enthusiasm for the program.
yes some sales are baked in; but if you dont show there are no sales for parking, concessions and merchandise. Plus the damage to the Pitt brand. And the damage to future donations.
Nice job, Ike. I wonder that with Heather being relatively new here that someone influential might have dropped that idea and said give it a try. I think many of us have worked for bosses who have told us to take a flyer on something, however tenuous it might be for success to happen. Then when it flops, you take the blame, not the influential so and so who promoted the idea. Then maybe she tried that at Eastern Michigan where it might have worked. Who knows. Live and learn. Hopefully she is learning. Hopefully enoughto make a rational and gutsy decision on the basketball coach. Both for the men’s and women’s teams.
The soccer coach hire was a home run. I firmly believe that their was no legitimate basketball coach search by Barnes. Instead it was a deal with the search firm….take KS off our hands and we we get you back on the West Coast at OSU. I have no idea who Heather may be looking at as MBB HC but I have no worries that what we get will be a substantial improvement.
BTW, nice article, Ike!
Yes Ike, you brought to light some good info on Ms. Lyke.
I will Lyke her even more when KS is back home in Tennessee and only returns for Pirate games.
She has a chance to be a rock star as her shining moment is about to happen – we hope…
Note to Heather:
This is a FB decision – financially, the BB program will drain funds that will hinder the FB program if KS stays as our HC.
There are many reasons KS should be fired. Find the reason that financially works and cut ties. As a business owner & CEO , I identify underperformers and move them out as quickly as possible. That is part of my job responsibility – and that is part of your job.
Underperformers hurt the rest of the organization and sometimes permeates the culture.
I think Heather will do and has done her homework on the BB situation. I think she would have crunched the numbers to see what Pitt can offer a new coach. Then hopefully she went to her boss and made the case that we need more money than that to fix this situation – but in the long run, it will be worth it. And hopefully her boss – having been a person who had a big hand in the development of the crappy situation – will provide support.
The hard part is going to be making that “correct” choice. Some coaches jump up a level and thrive, some don’t. Then there’s always the situation where you have your coach identified and he says he’ll take the job, only to receive a juicy counter offer from the current school and everything falls apart.
I don’t envy Heather – but I hope she is viewing this coaching change, not just as getting rid of an unpopular and ineffective coach, but as an opportunity to do something BIG and POSITIVE at Pitt. 🙂
And it’s good to have ike back on the POV.
What scares me more than anything is that the BOT must sign off on hiring the new coach…
The BB situation is tragic for all of Pitt’s athletic programs. It is especially tragic for our football program when Narduzzi chose(for good reason) to not subject the recruits on campus to this BB circus. There ain’t no easy answer as Stallings can milk us dry for the remaining years still on his contract. And firing him may cost the University even more money if the next coach performs on the same par as Stallings.
No question now KS has to go. I gave him the benefit of doubt but he is just mailing it in and knows he will be leaving with great parting gifts. The AD will not be the person to make that decision. But she will have to be the lead in the next hire. Stalling salary is replaced by the next coach so that is a wash. Hurley can;t get over 3 probably 2 year 1. But Gallagher and the BOT are the ones who need to Ok the firing and consequences of the Stallings regime. If Izzo is clean and is tired of the BS at MSU, maybe HCPN can get him here for the bridge job to rebuild the program and then hire the up and comer. .
Thanks guys as as you all know, “I’m no wordsmith”. ROC you hit the nail dead on there when saying some of the decisions could be out of Heather’s hands. Yet that is what I meant when I mentioned going with the territory she chose. Is she just a figure head with her one hand tied behind her back, or is she playing a stronger role in the athletic department? We just do not know.
Most got the gist of the comment, which is what it started out as being, as this coming off season of BB will go a very long ways in determining exactly what role it is heather is playing and how good she is at her job.
My honest thought is….. I can’t praise her or condemn her at this time….. as I just don’t get the finger pointing just yet. ike
Pitt fans should show up in large numbers to welcome the new hire at the press conference introduction.
Let’s make some noise!
^^ The above is a true true example of a true true PITT fan.. EE!
In my opinion, she made a wise choice in scheduling Miami (of Ohio) for Pitt’s final non com opponent for 2020 even if it does cost Pitt $1.1m
The 4 teams that year are 1 FCS – Richmond, 2 G of 5 – Marshall & Miami (of Ohio) & 1 P5 – Notre Dame. Darn good chance of going into conference play at 3-1 or slightly less chance at 4-0.
Scheduling more like other P5 schools.
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So how much damage was done the day she gave out Fantas to keep students and TV flashed Pitt fan after Pitt fan asleep at Heinz during that game. If I’m recruiting against Pitt, I have that tape with me at all times! Her public announcement of giving out Fantas made Pitt the laughingstock of football that day. That’s a very big mistake by an AD! But okay, she hired a great soccer coach…so all is well…Let’s face it, on her watch Pitt B-ball is in flames.
She is not the person I want fixing anything major at Pitt.
My NC cousins even knew about that – they saw it on ESPN.
Hold on to you hat Dan – Heather is either going to fire KS and hire his replacement OR keep KS on for another year.
Both are major decisions for Pitt and she has that responsibility.
Let’s you and I make a deal – if she keeps KS we golf more and if she cans KS, we golf more.
Hey boys, I want in on that, too!
Good article Ike. Love the avatar Rick / Erie. I bet you have that on a golf shirt too. Haha. Regarding Heather, I’m hoping for a bold move by her and am lighting votive candles as we speak. We need strong leadership.
“In 2013, the university paid more than three dozen bars $5,000 each for agreeing not to serve alcohol during the event, and the following year the school’s fraternities voted to ban drinking during that weekend.”
I’ve written before that the wall should start around State College before the Mexican border
I’m all for moving State College to France. To Hell with a Wall. Once all the Nitters are gone, an exorcism can be performed where Creepy Valley once stood. Only then will this land be clean of the cultists.
Always felt fortunate to have that bastion of education and elite culture in my backyard. I continue to marvel at their resilience and grit, their enthusiasm and blind passion.
They are…because he was.
And he (409) was an enabler of a pedophile.
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Yes as we well know the French build the best walls…just as the Germans about the fortifications of the Maginot LINE!
Musselman won’t be an option for Pitt. My buddy works for the Nevada athletic department and he told me today Muss will likely stay at Nevada another year due to what he’ll have to work with in 2018-19 then pursue a job on the west coast.
Muss still has that house in the Bay Area from his GS Warrior tenure and moving to the East isn’t in the cards.
Thanks for the email Reed… tailgate time at the Spring Game is on my to do list. As far as moving State College to France, maybe Siberia instead? And go full blown Carthage on the land that’s left behind. Raze it and salt the earth so nothing grows there again. (I think that’s what the Romans did)
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Fran – I’m planning to come up for it and if you’d like any help, would love to collaborate.
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Nice job Ike!
I agree on the wrestling coach hire. Good hire IMO. Rough season for sure but they had a really tough schedule and Pitt’s best wrestler from a season ago transferred to Ohio State and was a starter there. OSU is ranked #2 or thereabouts. That hurt Pitt. It will take him two years but Pitt wrestling will be rolling again soon.
I agree with most on here that KS should be fired before the end of March. Lots of winning coaches out there at some of the smaller, east coast schools. Get one.
Grabbed this from my company Facebook posting over this weekend –
Erie Express – what about Ron Sanchez, the Associate Head Coach at UVA, if he’d be crazy enough to want a head coaching position? He’s been at UVA for 9 years.
He played at SUNY. He’d bring back defense and rebounding, as a start…
There are many good assistant options, but I’m steering clear of any that are on the FBI 20 – UVA is on the list.
I’m also looking for a proven HC. They bring the systems necessary for success. An assistant has never been the CEO.
Regarding UVAs possible
infraction, it looks minor at worst:
Can’t seem to copy the image so I’ll spell out the quote –
“Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it.
Right is right, even if no one is doing it.”
Rick, words to live by. Thanks
Glad you are back in the fold and thanks for the post about Heather.
One thing you did not mention was that $2 million donation to the football program from the Guttman family that occurred on her watch, even if she was only on the job for a month.
To your point though, most here have no idea how she is doing
Accidentally hit the post button too soon…
Let’s hope she is having success raising money.
I agree that her time at Pitt may be defined by how she handles the BB debacle. In the meantime, she deserves the benefit of the doubt.
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Ike great write up Fanta wasn’t the first time Pat’s first year they did something similar granted our sleeping man made it look bad.Reed thank you for the email spring game can’t come fast enough at least it won’t be Easter weekend this year. Tim
As far as the bags on the head trick some of us Pitt fans in old section 22 did that back in the I can’t Hacket era. To me worst ever hired coach of any sport he never could embrace anything Pittsburgh except maybe old Crickets. Tim
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Looking at some of the worst teams in Pitt basketball history
I doubt that Heather will take the chance on hiring a hot young assistant. I have liked Greg McDermott at Creighton. Free advice for Heather….under no circumstance hire a search firm. If you’re too stupid to do the leg work yourself, resign along with KS.
JoeL. Thanks buddy. I appreciate it. Let’s touch base after I hear from Reed.
Thanks for the post Ike…. I have taken the wait and see approach with Heather.. the next 4-8 weeks will show us if we have the “ Iron Lady” at the helm. I hope we do !
Good post Ike. You always bring a positive opinion and outlook.
IMO, Heather Lyke, if she is allowed to make the call or have significant influence on the decision will make a coaching change that will involve a contractual settlement whereby KS can return comfortably to his family in Nashville. She has no ties to this hire or the manner it was conducted and believe she wants to make this call.
Having said that, I believe she/they need to return to our eastern roots and someone that is highly respected within the NY metro area and east coast corridor. For one, Danny Hurley checks all of the boxes and certainly commands respect throughout the region. His trampoline slam act (can be googled) alone would be more fun than what is happening at the moment over at the Pete. His contract at approximately $1 million annually includes a $640,000 gate receipts guarantee on top of a base salary of $300,000 that will grow to
$1 million at the contracts end in 2023-24. Any gate receipts shortfall is made up by booster funds. His buyout is $1.5 million through 2018. Unless he is holding out for the “cuse opening someday he would be a really good fit.
Again, just my opinion, and there are certainly brighter bulbs in the lamp than mine, but I believe if Heather Lyke is given the opportunity and the resources she will make a really good hire that will move the BB program ahead quickly and generate some excitement.
Thanks Ike, your post inspired me.
$20 a seat, 10,000 empty seats = $200,000 a game * 9 home ACC games equals 1.8mm in lost revenue per season just on a but in the seat, let alone parking and concessions. We know the seats are priced at more than that but that’s just a quick look at the $ we lose but comparing that to losing an entire squad to a full blown transfer is the debate. Given the roster, not many of these fine gents are made to play ACC basketball
I do want to note that it’s been mentioned a couple times that the fanta idea wasn’t Heather’s idea originally as it was done a few years ago as well. Hmmm. although she still went with the less than dynamic give away. or maybe it came from higher up? See, things we just don’t know…
Oh and thank you for all the kind words. That was meant to be a comment when I sat down and it became an article off the top of my head as it’s fairly obvious that there wasn’t any pre-drafting. Thanks to Reed for some editing and posting it as an article.
Down here at Kiawah. Played Wild Dunes today and Ocean Course tomorrow. You may ask what this has to due with Pitt BB? Well, my buddy in Charleston who we stayed with has been pounding the College of Charleston guy for a couple years. Didn’t do as well this year but he was ultra competitive with the big boys last couple years and can flat out coach. That’s his story, and he knows BB. Keep it in mind.
Guess I should have said touting, not pounding.
When a search committee is announced, keep in mind, that it’s often a way to back channel without candidates being exposed. A lot of schools provide their own list to the search committee’s to make first contact as well as background checks. Coaches actually like and prefer this approach because then they can deny “contact” and say stuff like “I have not spoken to someone at Pitt about their opening” without lying.
What Barnes did last time was negligence so I understand the concern, but there are advantages to search firms and a reason they’re so popular.
It’s more important Pitt hires the right coach and that Heather has names queued up.
But they always seen to recommend some safe bum that any whino at the bus station could come up with in 10 seconds. Like our current coach…
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