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Pittsburgh names Heather Lyke as new athletic director

Pittsburgh hired Eastern Michigan athletic director Heather Lyke for the same position, the school announced.

Lyke, who replaces Scott Barnes after he left to become Oregon State's athletic director in December, was introduced Monday as Pitt's first female athletic director.

Lyke, unlike Barnes, has local roots; she grew up in Canton, Ohio, before embarking on a career that has included associate athletic director stops at Cincinnati and Ohio State.

While chancellor Patrick Gallagher stressed that hiring someone familiar with the landscape wasn't part of the "primary criteria," he allowed that he's hopeful Lyke's arrival can halt what has become a bit of a revolving door. She's the school's third athletic director in less than three years.

"I want Pitt to be a destination," Gallagher said. "We've got to end this sort of [turnover]. That's an aspect of believing in ourselves."

Lyke had been at Eastern Michigan since 2013. Prior to that she was an associate athletic director at Ohio State from 1998-2013, including as senior associate AD her final year before going to EMU.

Donations to Eastern Michigan athletics rose 51 percent during Lyke's tenure, no small feat considering Big Ten power Michigan sits just 10 miles away. Lyke faces a similar challenge on a considerably larger scale at Pitt.

"It's an incredible brand, and you have a chance to be on a platform to compete for ACC and national championships," Lyke said. "And the only question is people say, `How are you going to do that?' Well, why not? How aren't we going to do it?"

A Michigan graduate, Lyke also worked previously at the NCAA as an enforcement intern (1995-96) and at Cincinnati as an assistant athletic director (1996-98).

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.