VINCE HIT THE GROUND RUNNING...AND HE HASN'T SLOWED UP YET.
The question was a simple and innocuous one.
While my dear wife and I were at dinner the other night with a couple of friends, I was asked "So, what do you think of Vince Tyra and the job he's done so far?"
(In case you aren't aware of this, Vince Tyra is the athletic director at the University of Louisville. He was appointed permanent director on March 26, 2018 -- replacing Tom Jurich. Welcome to the 21st. century...by the way...dear reader...if you didn't know. You're gonna love Asia Durr, GPS on your phone and Twitter. So glad to see you've come out of your coma...my unaware compadre).
I thought about my response a moment and replied (to the effect of):
"My thoughts about Vince Tyra are pretty irrelevant in the scheme of things. It's the opinions of the board of trustees, coaches and well-heeled donor that matter. I like Vince. He's always been kind to me. So was Tom Jurich. Let's face it...Vince was tossed into a viper pit and emerged unbitten. That, in itself, says a lot."
Our dining partners nodded in agreement. The next question was a bit more difficult.
"What do you think about all the coaches he's fired or have resigned"?
I took sometime before I responded. My response was something like:
"I don't think you can lump all the reasons for these changes into one category. Different circumstances were involved. Some of these coaches, I hated to see go, honestly, but I will say that, when in a position of power and authority...you have to make some tough decisions and accept actions that are out of your control."
Fortunately, our server arrived with our meals right after that and the topic changed to culinary talk.
We deal with Louisville women's sports here at CARDINAL COUPLE. In that vein, I will speak, now, of the changes on that side of the mountain. I can understand the reasoning behind the reasons of departure of each of the four coaches who were at their respective helms "pre-Vince".
One was the center of a lot of allegations and controversy. One wanted to spend more time with her husband. One decided that private business was the next chapter in her life and pursued it. One chose to retire after a long and successful career in college athletics. The four replacements have great promise and are likable, have their players respect and admiration and were good hires.
|One of the seven departed ACC WBB Coaches since 2015|
I also realize there is a contingent out there that still laments the departure of former athletic director Tom Jurich. And, yes, Tom changed the campus, it's facilities and many programs successes in many ways. We owe him a hearty handshake and a huge "Thank you!" for all he did while at Louisville. He was accused and recommended for termination, in part, because of accusations from then-UofL President Greg Postel of "ineffective management, divisive leadership and unprofessional conduct that caused substantial damage to the school"...but the board of trustees gave no reason for the actual firing except for the nebulous term..."for cause".
Things change. For example, when I was at Louisville as an undergraduate, the athletic director was Dave Hart. He left Louisville for the same position at Missouri.
Understand this, also. No one ever has 100% of the population's approval of a job they are doing. That's the beauty of a free-thinking society. The adage "You can't please all the people all of the time" is so true.
One thing about Tyra is that he is a huge supporter of the programs under his watch.
He's been seen in Omaha, on the lacrosse, field hockey, baseball and softball field...just to name a few, in his time here. A friend of mine usually tells me (without any request or prompting), in e-mail form, whenever she sees him at a sporting event.
Vince usually makes a point of saying "Hi" to me whenever our paths cross at a UofL athletic event. I celebrated with him on the floor in Greensboro when the Cards women's basketball squad won the 2018 ACC Tournament.
In this first year, plus a few months, of Tyra's tenure as athletic director he's had to make quite a few tough decisions (along with the board of trustees) about Louisville Athletics. Respect him for that, readers, and know that his first and prime concern in his role as Athletic Director is the well-being of Cardinal Athletics. He's weathered the rumors about the most successful coach on campus being recruited by other schools, the head coaching replacement of the two largest revenue-producing programs on campus and, now, the chatter currently going on about a long-time coach who has been placed on paid leave amid investigation.
Ultimately, Vince has done what needed to be done.
In the final analysis, of course, it matters not what I think of Vince. Believe me, I've heard it from all sides about him. Our mission here is to cover the joy and excitement of Louisville women's sports. Vince has done nothing to deter with that coverage, so that's a good thing. And, it's also all about the student-athletes in the final analysis, as well. The story begins with them and ends with them.
Jeff Walz will tell you he's never made a basket or grabbed a rebound in his time as the Cards WBB skipper (although his shooting choices have been bad selections...from the sidelines in front of the UofL bench). Neither has Vince.
College sports are about the student-athletes. Yes, they needed guidance, coaching and encouragement during their relatively short stay on a college campus. I'd like to think that Vince remembers the days when he was a student-athlete and some of the things he went through when he thinks about the players and the coaches.
So, I suppose we'll include him in our list of possible "alternates" on the 4 Man Cardinal Couple Bobsled Team (with other proposed alternate in Jeff Walz, Scott Teeter, Donovan Mitchell, Jerry Abramson and Curtis Franklin) for now. Sadly, practices haven't gone so well and we probably won't get a qualifying team or time. Too much arthritis and weight involved.
I'd like your thoughts on Vince if you'd like to share them. Feel free to leave them in the comments section below or e-mail them to me.
Have a terrific Tuesday!