Heather Lyke named EMU Athletic Director

Heather Lyke comes to EMU from Ohio State University, where she has been for the last 15 years.

On Monday morning, Eastern Michigan University named Heather Lyke its new Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics following a national search to replace former AD Dr. Derrick Gragg.

According to a press release issued by the university, Lyke comes to EMU from Ohio State University, where she has been for the last 15 years. She currently serves as a member of the athletic department’s executive team and is responsible for assessing, designing and developing the department’s strategic plan. Additionally, she is responsible for directly overseeing ten of the 36 different athletic programs at Ohio State and is in charge of 31 full-time coaches and staff.

“I’ve had the opportunity to talk with leaders in collegiate athletics from around the country during the search, including [Ohio State AD] Gene Smith,” EMU President Susan Martin said in the release. “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.”

In the release, Walter Kraft, EMU’s Vice President for Communications, who chaired the search committee, praised its hard work.

“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 also supervises the sport performance division of Ohio State’s athletic department, under which fall the strength and conditioning coaches, athletic training staff and sports medicine staff.

This past year, she developed the university’s first ever student-athlete internship program within OSU’s Department of Athletics. Nationally, Lyke has been involved in committees within the Big Ten as well as the NCAA as a member of the NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Committee and Big Ten Sports Management Committee. She 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,” Lyke said in the release. “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.”

According to the release, Lyke’s 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).

Before coming to 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.

She grew up in Canton, Ohio, and attended the University of Michigan on a softball scholarship. While at Michigan, 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 AD in the school’s history and is the first woman to hold the full-time AD position here.

“Eastern Michigan University Athletics is defined by success on the field, in the classroom, and the overall well-being of our student athletes,” Francine Parker, chair of the Board of Regents said in the release. “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.”

Lyke is under contract for five years at $245,000 per year plus incentives based on championship and bowl appearances, academics, attendance and more.

She will be introduced to the media at 3 p.m. today at the Convocation Center.

Follow Al Willman on Twitter: @AlWillmanEcho

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