An 2017 Alumni Letter to New AD

Here is a letter sent to the the new Athletic Director Heather Lyke soon after she was hired by the university back in 2017. This was done by one of our readers (who doesn’t comment) who thought since we had just sent our own Pitt POV letter to E. J. Borghetti we might want to read his own version. Remember – this is five and a half years old and is a rather long piece…

Dear Ms. Lyke:

Congratulations on being named the new Athletic Director at the University of Pittsburgh. I have never written a letter such as this but would appreciate your consideration of the information set forth below.

First, by way of introduction, I attended the University of Pittsburgh from 1986 to 1990. Simply put, I love Pitt. Very few institutions in the U.S. have the combination of an outstanding academic reputation, coupled with Division I athletics, in a very vibrant city with Midwestern values. I point this out because I believe Pitt can, and should be viewed as an academic and athletic national powerhouse.

Pitt is not a large land grant or state flagship university. Very few schools, however, have the remarkable academic and athletic history of Pitt. The list of accomplishments is second to none. Unfortunately, though, I believe Pitt has underachieved in exploiting this history, as well as its academic and athletic potential, on a national scale.

(Continued after page break)

87 thoughts on “An 2017 Alumni Letter to New AD

    1. Posted this on the last article. Jerry always leaves out a lot, lol.

      Pitt Live Wire on youtube has all Pitt videos if you all didn’t know.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. That letter to the AD could have been written today and would still speak the truth.

    Nothing significant has changed under heather unfortunately.

    Sure the football team got coal gray uniforms

    Sure the great AD and future HOF’er donated money for weights

    Sure the soccer and ball fields got some new turf

    Sure the Pete got a new court and seating configuration

    Sure Fitzgerald got a facelift inside

    And here are some others sures

    Pitt sure does still generate one of the lowest revenues in P5

    Pitt sure does heavily subsidize their athletics

    Pitt still sure does have a pathetic donation rate for sports

    Pitt sure does still stink in the directors cup

    Pitt still sure does play off campus for football

    Pitt still sure does have a mediocre football team

    Pitt still sure does have a ho hum front porch

    Pitt sure still does lack school spirit

    Pitt sure still does lack leadership, accountability, vision and business acumen

    Pitt still sure didn’t perform a feasibility study for football or hockey

    Pitt still sure does lie about attendance

    Pitt still sure does offer poorly timed contract extensions

    Pitt still sure has SOP

    The more things change, the more things stay the same.


    1. Tex, Tell me, did your mother love you? I know for sure your dad didn’t. Every time I read something you write I get sad. Enough! I’m too old to constantly read negative things all the time. Yes, today men’s soccer is losing 3-0 against UNC and baseball lost to Duke. But I still love the direction of our minor sports and our AD Lyke. The heading article tells the story minor sports are still noticed by alumni and media and are important. Tex, did you play a sport in college? Maybe you should ask someone who play a , so called minor, sport before you recommend throwing in the junkyard. Maybe playing the sport is not for your pleasure but more for the growth of the student athlete.


      1. Keep drinking the Koolaid. And leave my parents out of it. You don’t know me.

        I give to winners. Pitt has three out of 19. That’s pathetic.

        And any athlete would be embarrassed by their performance. They sure arent earning their scholies.


  2. I appreciate it when anyone makes a sincere effort to reach out to an administrator (private or public sector) in hopes of having an impact on a “machine”

    There were points in the letter that resonated and here are my takes:

    Those Pitt BB teams with Jerome Lane, Charles Smith, Demetreous Gore underachieved. Should have beat Oklahoma in 1987 and Vanderbilt in 1988. The latter was a disgraceful loss. Perhaps I’m not being fair. In any event, those Pitt teams were highly seeded and should have made longer runs.
    Those comments on the Pirates did not age well. At all.
    Was wearing a Pitt sweatshirt in a Kenmare, Ireland pub during a golf trip. A group of folks from the Carnegie, PA chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians saw me and the next thing I know, it’s the next morning and I have one heckuva hangover. Good times.
    I would bet my next paycheck that Heather did not read the letter unless the writer is a major donor. Her assistant read it and summarized it among other alumni letters. Her mail is screened and to get her to read it, it really needs to stick out. I know this from experience. That said, I’m certain that EJ read every single word of Reed’s letter because they know one another. And he’s a different cat… and a great Pitt man as well.

    Tex – how many have you written to her?


    1. She has her minions lurk here

      She only reads the big boosters. Has them all in her contacts

      Her minions screen out the others like mine and summarize or compile common themes.

      She can then work those good things said about pitt athletics into press releases or public speaking engagements

      The criticism is always buried.

      But I see at least her fashion sense has changed. She obviously got constructive validation from others that yellow blouses are not a good look.


        1. Never mind, it looks like Joe’s question was directed toward Pitt PT. I also have written EJ many times and spoken to him in person. He always gets back to me


          1. My question was for Tex. Yes, he deflected. But I would not be at all surprised if he has written her and that such a letter was well-written.


            1. I would rather bang my head against the wall than write or talk to her

              I would welcome any opportunity to talk to someone who bleeds blue and gold. We may not agree on solutions but we agree on passion.

              Passion is always the first step.


  3. JoeL, you are correct regarding EJ. I have written to him a couple of times and he has sent me a reply each time, despite the fact that I am low on the alum/donor radar.


    1. Because he bleeds blue and gold. And frankly he’s probably more busy than heather but makes the time. He doesn’t hide in basements or jump on the first plane to OBX.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. And y’all can call me Nostradamus Tex. My clairvoyance is outstanding.

    Tex – vinegar doesn’t rot your mind


  5. Her hires of the wrestling, her first hire after pat fell through, and the women’s soccer coach were good. Still questionable hires across the board though to go along with contract extensions

    Bad PR piece on coach white in cardiac Hill. Many media types are posting and retweeting. He needs to start winning. Good guy or not.

    Still I think it’s grossly unfair to compare him to suzie and KS. Hit piece it was.


    1. Tex, Coach White is a keeper and his team will be much improved next year. He ,has the best player in Canada joining the team and several other top recruits. If they are not over.500 in the ACC next year, then we’ll talk.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Next season will tell us much about Coach White’s potential. He has upgraded the talent significantly over what Coach Suzie was bringing in. But those players are Sophs and Frosh and haven’t been able to win yet.

      Next year those Juniors and Sophs need to play more under control, cut down on the high rate of turnovers, and improve their shooting…

      Like the men’s team, a big with some offensive game would do wonders. Pitt is supposedly in contact with over 20 post players – including a couple in transfer portal – they need to sign a good one.

      Go Pitt.


  6. Coach White will be judged in years four and five

    Suzie cost Pitt over $4 million in losses one year. She was grossly overpaid along with her tag along sister.

    Stallings set the program back five years and created a dumpster fire.

    The article deserves some context.


  7. Don’t mean to be a downer, and despite an array of great points persuasively presented, I have to wonder if HL ever read this letter given its length. My experience is that it is Hard to get C suite types attention. Did you get a response from her?


  8. AFH, I asked Reed this above, and he indicated that the writer only got an automated response that the letter had been received.


  9. Sibalde just committed to Pitt next year. I’ve talked to two scouts both who tell me Champ will be back at Pitt next year. If any of those centers Capel is offering commit it could be a very good year.
    Clemson is a very good team. I’m afraid Pitt is simply not talented or deep enough to win Saturday.


    1. Funny how life changes for Sibande with the defections. Hope he has more games like the last one.

      Agree about Clemson, but would be nice to finish above 500.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I thought the letter was great. Pitt’s branding does need improved by better performance. I think Lyke is trying to improve it. i.e. new uniforms, colors etc. but also there has been a dramatic improvement in facilities. This will continue with the Victory Heights initiative. On the fund raising front they have really cleaned house with new people and a different approach. 2020 with Covid was a set back but that happened everywhere. They’ve started a new program called PITT Script to have donors make a greater and longer term commitment. All is not well yet but it is improving. Hopefully our on field performance will also improve.


    1. A very simple approach would have been to write a letter for posting on day of giving and presented to sites like cardiac Hill, panther lair and Pitt POV. All personalized to the audience. And then to comment on these sites throughout the day.

      Low hanging fruit. Simple and easy way to engage and connect in a personal way.

      Has their approach really changed? There are many guys on here that know how to sell. How to hustle. Gain a customer. Obtain financing. I don’t think pitt has those people. Real world people who have to earn it and prove it every day for survival. Pitt does not have that mindset.

      Own a business and find out.


  11. We see facility upgrades all the time at schools. They are always needed particularly in Pitts case since Pitt was literally a decade behind most schools. I kid you not that many high schools in Texas had better facilities. It’s all relative people.

    Now I think we can all agree that pitt facilities should not be an excuse as to why pitt is so mediocre to bad across most sports.

    Heather is going on year 5. In the end, the number one performance criteria is wins. That is how she will be judged. Over this past week, both men’s and women’s swim teams finished in the bottom of the ACC championships. The women’s basketball team lost their first game in the ACC championships. Pitt did send four wrestlers to the ncaa’s.

    Tex – still waiting for a winning culture


  12. These new facilities/resources for the baseball team look great. When I played we used the locker room in Trees. There was no “home” for the team. Different universe now.

    Course, I probably couldn’t make the team now either… 😊

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Minor correction on the reception of the above letter to the AD. The writer received an email from EJ stating he would ‘gladly share the letter with Heather‘…’very insightful on many fronts‘ etc.

    Regarding EJ; I’ve stated this before but back in 2009 I was writing all the football stuff on The Blather and was doing it the same way I wrote stuff on here – straight shooting and critical if necessary.

    Out of the blue EJ called me at home, introduced himself and offered me media credentials so that “I could see what I was writing about”. That was a very generous offer – especially when I was getting a ton of negative feedback from the Pitt fans who only wanted to read positive fluff pieces.

    He has kept those credentials available to me each year since for any games I might attend and any practices / interviews / Pro Days, etc. I wanted to be there for also.

    He is very good at his job and wants the best for both Pitt athletics and for the fans. That is sometimes a big juggling act.

    Speaking of The Pitt Blather – has anyone seen anything new on there lately? Every time I try to visit it I get directed elsewhere or too the old site from years back.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think Chas gave it up given his work and other life commitments. But I haven’t spoken with him in some time. He was part of my tailgate crew during the day. He still tweets though.

      It’s POV, pantherlair and cardiac Hill left. Unless you also want to count psn but they aren’t dedicated to pitt.


      1. Loved Chas’ writing style. And his Week in Review with links from all over the web was something I really looked forward to.


      1. First game back after long hiatus. You play down to your competition.

        Look to how they do against other elite teams

        When was the last time you said Pitt and elite?


  14. Got a nice thank-you-for-supporting-us card from the women’s basketball team. What made it nice was it was signed by every player. 👍

    Go Pitt.


  15. Watched the interview video of Myles Alston, freshman WR. I continue to be impressed by the maturity of these athletes. Myles should still be in high school. He’s a well-spoken kid.

    At that age I would have been petrified to be interviewed…😊

    BTW, Alston was recruited by Coach Beatty, but seems to be good with Coach Marion…

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Majors – a WR with only one P5 offer (guess who) pretty much has to be happy with any coach in front of him. 🏈🏉 wait, OK, here it is -whoops – no emoji for baseball? What?

      BTW – I played Shortstop.


  16. It sounds like Heather is due a healthy atta girl for her work with the minor sports. Maybe Tex wlll let up a little. I still like the yellow blouses, by the way. Reminds me of Arnold Palmer’s yellow shirt look. It still seems like my previous observation that Narduzzi and Capel got long term deals because Pitt made commitments to the ACC on the minor sports and Heather needed time to execute them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I will never let up until Pitt starts winning at things instead of being just bad.

      These facility improvements should have been made 20 years ago. These are the easy things to do for any AD.

      You do know how the swimming and women’s b ball teams performed this past week in the ACC championships don’t you?

      Or are we going to brush under a rug certain things we don’t like or makes us uncomfortable to discuss.

      Let’s just pretend mediocrity doesn’t exist. It might just go away by itself. Right?

      Y’all can defend her all you want. It doesn’t change the facts I outlined. She’s a turd and deserves flushed down the allegheny.


    2. u want to give her another extension?

      I guess the standard is different for some people?


      Bottom line is wins. Ask any AD. That’s how they are judged. And it’s primarilly football and then men’s basketball

      Football is mediocre at best
      Basketball is bad

      Not my money

      I care only because I carry my degree

      Tex who’s no fan of people who look like a big banana


  17. BTW, if Capel announces a couple of solid recruits in the coming weeks we’ll see how the attitude of some Capel doubters changes!


  18. A comment on the thought that our men’s basketball team could see serious improvement next year if we can sign one of the big centers we are pursuing. We should remember that we have a 3 star 6’10” center in Max Amadasun on the bench. He got into four games this year, averaging 3 minutes per game. He may turn out to be a good to great player some day for us but he certainly didn’t have much of an impact this past season. And it’s not like he had dominating centers starting ahead of him. I assume that what they say about big men taking longer to develop is true. So unless we sign an experienced transfer, I wouldn’t look to a new big to take us to the promised land.


    1. Farmers — “…if we can sign one of the big centers we are pursuing.”

      Seems to me this has been the case since Coach Capel got here. He’s given us hope by being in on some very good big men, but we haven’t been able to “cash in”…

      I agree that finding a legit big would be big…

      And Coach still seems to think Max can be good – but how long will it take…

      Go Pitt.


  19. Pitt Clemson Basketball game has been picked up by local tv stations outside the Burgh. In MD,VA
    it’s on MASN. Early line is Clemson by 8. About right I think. See you all at noon.


    1. The regular AT&T Sports channel on Comcast Xfinity will be showing the Penguins game tomorrow. But there is another AT&T Sports channel (channel 1258 on my system) that is televising the Pitt at Clemson basketball game.


    1. That’s right. I fish on that river and she wouldn’t make it past the first dock.

      I can always volunteer to drive both her and Narduzzi out of town. (ABP) Anywhere but Pittsburgh is fine by me.


  20. Pitt baseball losing in the bottom of the 6th to Duke 3-1. The Blue Devils lost their weekend series to Boston College last week. Not a good showing with the bats today – only 2 hits in 6 innings – one was a homer with no-one on base in the first – only one other baserunner.


  21. Name one AD before Heather who has cared at all about the minor sports. Yes, Tex, I would give Heather another extension.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Barnes. He hired Pitts two best coaches.

      That question was only for $100 dollars. Easy.

      I’ll take blouse colors for $200


  22. If I did the math correctly Coach White’s record the past 3 years is 21 and 60?


  23. Tex, Tell me, did your mother love you? I know for sure your dad didn’t. Every time I read something you write I get sad. Enough! I’m too old to constantly read negative things all the time. Yes, today men’s soccer is losing 3-0 against UNC and baseball lost to Duke. But I still love the direction of our minor sports and our AD Lyke. The heading article tells the story minor sports are still noticed by alumni and media and are important. Tex, did you play a sport in college? Maybe you should ask someone who play a , so called minor, sport before you recommend throwing in the junkyard. Maybe playing the sport is not for your pleasure but more for the growth of the student athlete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I already answered your smack back when you first said it. No need to repeat it.

      But I will repeat not to bring my parents, family or friends into any discussion you have with me. You speak to me directly and don’t defame others who know me.

      You don’t know me and I don’t need your psycho analysis.

      Call me all the names you want. I’m Texan. I can take what you sling.

      We obviously disagree on the direction of pitt sports and the performance of heather.

      Tex who will continue to drink the vinegar


  24. Tex,
    While you don’t need my support, I’ve got your back, brother.
    Why these POVers are satisfied with mediocrity escapes me.
    So preach on, my friend.
    One bowl-win-Pat and hermit Heather need to be held accountable.
    And while folks claim to care about gymnastics, darts and team curling, I bet not one POVer can mention any of the participants.


  25. This reminds me of the green, yellow, red that we had during lunch in elementary school where if you got loud, it would turn red and we’d lose recess. Keep it civil guys. I for one like this blog. Let’s not attack each other personally. Everyone’s entitled to his/her/their opinion.


  26. There are always differences of opinion. It’s the name calling that bothers me. I really like the minor sport updates that Erie gives us, and hope they continue. But when the name calling starts up I tune out, and I’m guessing the athletics dept does as well.

    Liked by 2 people

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