--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
Louisville athletic director Vince Tyra is not messing around.
Sunday’s decision to fire Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino is the latest example of how Tyra is improving the athletic department. And the decision helped prove that Tyra was the right hire to take over from long-time AD Tom Jurich.
After Friday’s abysmal 54-23 loss to the Syracuse Orange; whom the Cardinals had beaten 56-10 a year prior; Petrino was impossible to defend- his defense has surrendered 50 or more points on five separate occasions; and the offense has barely managed to score 21 points on a regular basis. The season is so bad, 20 players had requested transfer paperwork, and multiple high-profile recruits had reopened their recruitment.
It wasn’t a question of whether to fire Petrino. It was a question of when. The timing just happened to be on Sunday.
The decision seems to already show benefits- Russ Yeast, who announced his transfer on Tuesday last week, reported back to the football team earlier this week. Much of the fan base seems re-energized.
When the time comes, Tyra will have a difficult decision to make. All season long, fans and media have been speculating on who the next head coach should be. The name in the wide lead is Purdue football coach Jeff Brohm.
And a few hours after firing Petrino, Tyra spoke about Brohm.
“I know all the tie-ins that Jeff [Brohm] has with Louisville and that he and I have with Trinity,” Tyra said. “But I don’t even know if he wants to be here. I don't think it's worth even speculating until it gets to the end of the season.”
While the answer was glorified coach-talk, and in no way gave a definite yes or no; it still mentioned Brohm. Tyra could have went with a more generic answer. But the fact he mentioned the fan favorite by name proves he is in-touch with the fan base.
And when the time comes, Tyra’s track record proves he will hire the right coach. Last year, Tyra fired lacrosse coach Kelly Young- after problems with the program and many players transferring out. Tyra hired Scott Teeter; who was the winningest coach in MAAC history, and the head coach of the Canadian under-19 national team.
Chris Mack and Holly Aprile were also hired under Tyra. Mack, the men's basketball coach, has performed an admirable job at recruiting; with Louisville having the No. 4 recruiting class for 2019, currently. Mack won three conference championships at Xavier, and led the Musketeers to the Sweet-16 or deeper on four ocaisions. Aprile was the 2018 ACC softball coach of the year, and spent 10 seasons leading the Pittsburgh Panthers.
Tyra and UofL’s athletic association personnel committee also revised contracts for baseball coach Dan McDonnell and women’s basketball coach Jeff Walz. Walz was given a raise of $50,000; and McDonnell’s contract had a salary and bonus structure shift.
Tyra will hire the right person for the football coaching job. His track record proved he is the right person for the athletic director position.