Louisville makes Josh Heird full-time athletic director

Louisville's athletic board has promoted Josh Heird to permanent athletic director after nearly six months leading the department on an interim basis.

The University of Louisville Athletic Association's board of directors and personnel committee approved Heird's promotion in a special meeting Friday morning. He received a five-year contract through June 2027 with a proposed base annual salary of $850,000 plus incentives.

"I want everyone involved with this program to understand this is one of the best jobs in college athletics," Heird, 41, said during a news conference. "To say I'm honored and humbled to be up here would be an understatement.

"We will dream big and we will never be OK with the status quo."

The decision follows a national search that began last month with the committee interviewing several athletic directors from other schools before ultimately recommending Heird.

"Josh is our new director because he represents who we are today and who we aspire to be," Louisville interim president Lori Stewart Gonzalez said. "He has demonstrated time and again that not only is he ready to lead our program -- he is ready to elevate it."

Since taking over Louisville athletics in mid-December following Vince Tyra's resignation, the former deputy athletic director has overseen the departure of men's basketball coach Chris Mack and the hiring of former Cardinals player Kenny Payne as his successor.

Also, the Louisville women's basketball team reached its fourth Final Four under coach Jeff Walz, who received a contract extension this spring.

Heird worked as a senior associate athletic director at Villanova in 2018-19 before his latest stint at Louisville. He also worked at Louisville from 2007 to 2016, including four years as assistant athletic director for championships and facilities.

A key task awaits the 13-year athletic administration veteran later this month when Louisville defends against NCAA allegations through the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP). The IARP was created out of proposals from the commission led by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2018 to reform college basketball.

Louisville could face possible sanctions resulting from a 2017 federal corruption investigation of college basketball. The NCAA also has accused the school of additional violations committed under Mack during the 2020-21 season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.