July 1, 2013

Release courtesy Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan website (press conference video, media interviews and photo gallery)

YPSILANTI, Mich. — Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin has named Ohio State University Senior Associate Athletic Director Heather Lyke as Eastern Michigan University Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. Lyke has spent the last nine years at OSU under the tutelage of Gene Smith, current OSU athletic director and former EMU athletic director (1986-1993). She will begin at Eastern July 22, 2013.

“I’ve had the opportunity to talk with leaders in collegiate athletics from around the country during the search, including Gene Smith,” said Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin. “I also talked and met with many highly qualified AD candidates – including sitting ADs and associate ADs. Heather Lyke is the right person at the right time with the outstanding skills, talent, enthusiasm and experience to lead Eastern Michigan University Athletics to great success.”

Lyke has more than 17 years experience in intercollegiate athletics administration – 15 of which have been at Ohio State. In her current role at OSU, she is a member of the athletic department’s executive team and is responsible for the assessment, design and development of the department’s strategic plan. She directly oversees 10 of OSU’s 36 athletic programs and manages/supervises 31 full-time coaches and staff. She also has oversight over all facets of the athletic councils involving budget oversight, revenue generation and facilities as well as the golf course operations. Additionally, she supervises the sport performance division of the department, which includes the strength and conditioning coaches, athletic training staff and sports medicine staff. This year, she developed the first ever student-athlete internship program within the Department of Athletics. On a national level, Lyke has been active within the NCAA and Big Ten committee structure as a member of the NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Committee and Big Ten Sports Management Committee and previously served on the NCAA Softball Rules Committee and the NCAA Amateurism Committee.

“I am honored and excited to be named the Director of Athletics at Eastern Michigan University,” said Lyke. “This is a tremendous opportunity to become a part of a dynamic leadership team. I am eager to serve and build great relationships with President Martin and the University leadership, the faculty, our student-athletes, coaches and staff, alumni and donors, and the greater Ypsilanti and Michigan community. Eastern Michigan has a rich history of athletic success and academic achievement. I look forward to being part of the continued success of Eastern Michigan University as we help shape the next generation of leaders and achieve even greater accomplishments.”

Her previous roles at OSU include associate athletic director for sport administration (2002-2012) and associate athletic director for sport administration, compliance and camp operations (1998-2002). Prior to Ohio State, Lyke was at the University of Cincinnati for two years, serving as the assistant athletic director for compliance as well as the senior woman administrator. Lyke began her athletics administrative career at the NCAA national office as an intern in the enforcement and student-athlete reinstatement department. Lyke also has worked for the Big Ten Network as a color analyst for softball games.

Lyke grew up in Canton, Ohio, and attended the University of Michigan on a softball scholarship. While at U-M, she was a four-year letter winner as a first baseman, two-time team captain, Big Ten champion and Academic All-Big Ten honoree as a member of its softball team. She earned a bachelor’s of science degree in education from University of Michigan and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Akron School of Law. She was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1995.

Lyke becomes the 12th athletic director at Eastern Michigan University since Wilbur Bowen was named as Eastern’s first athletic director in 1903. She also is the first woman to hold the full-time AD position at EMU.

Lyke is committed to continuing the high academic standards of EMU athletics that resulted in the department’s highest-ever cumulative GPA of 3.201 during the fall 2012 semester.

“Eastern Michigan University Athletics is defined by success on the field, in the classroom, and the overall well-being of our student athletes” said Francine Parker, chair of the Board of Regents. Heather Lyke’s background and experience in athletics administration, as a compliance officer and as a student-athlete, ensures Eastern’s focus on the entire student-athlete experience will remain a top priority.”

A national search process began in mid-April, following the decision of former EMU Athletic Director Derrick Gragg to join the University of Tulsa. A 16-member search committee, chaired by Vice President for Communications Walter Kraft and representing students, student-athletes, faculty, alumni and athletics coaches and staff, reviewed an initial pool of more than 80 applications to identify a strong group of finalists.

“I’d like to acknowledge the hard work and time commitment of every member of the search committee. Their expertise was essential in this process,” said Kraft. “We found Heather’s passion and enthusiasm for collegiate athletics and the student-athlete experience to be contagious.”

Lyke’s contract is for five years at an annual salary of $245,000 plus incentives based on championship and bowl appearances, academics, attendance, and more.

Lyke and husband David Catalano have three children, Elle, Sophie and Eli.

About Eastern Michigan University Athletics
Eastern Michigan University has been a member of the Mid-American Conference since 1971 and has been among the leagueʼs most successful members. The Division I program boasts 120 MAC team championships over the past 42 years. EMUʼs varsity intercollegiate program features 21 different sports, nine men’s teams and 12 women’s teams, The program employs more than 70 full-time staff and supports more than 500 student-athletes. Eastern Michigan has had a representative at every summer Olympics since 1960.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern Michigan University, serves more than 23,000 students from 45 states and 85 foreign countries who are pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 200 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University’s five colleges and graduate school. With more than 200 academic and social organizations and an extensive intramural sports program, Eastern students have diverse opportunities to become involved in campus life.

Eastern Michigan University is located in Ypsilanti, about 10 miles east of Ann Arbor, and 40 miles west of Detroit. It is an area rich in academic, research, technological, and recreational resources. The University also has seven satellite sites. Easternʼs 800 plus-acre campus of scenic flora and wooded areas include 18 miles of walkways and jogging trails and has 122 buildings throughout the academic and athletic campuses.