Vince Tyra speaks at the College of Business Center for Free Enterprise, Sept. 12, 2018.

When Athletic Director Vince Tyra began his new job a year ago, he was faced with coaches, students and staff who were worried about the future.

“Y’all focus on winning,” Tyra told them. “Y’all focus on making great grades. I’ll take care of the rest.”

He told students at the College of Business in a talk Sept. 12 that he was confident he could transfer his business skills to the athletic department. All he had to do was use and teach the values he had developed throughout his career.

“We’ve needed change,” Tyra said. “These values will stick.”

Tyra was the first guest of the Center for Free Enterprise’s Fall Speaker Series. During his hour-long talk, “Business Values on the Field and in the Office,” he described how he has put the athletics department on a course for success by focusing on developing core values such as:

  • Choose integrity first.
  • Be accountable to the student-athletes.
  • We win together: As decisions are made, consider the constituents.
  • Treat customers so well that “they should feel guilty about not attending games and supporting us.”
  • Always seek to improve.
  • Share the “organizational playbook.” In other words, be transparent.

He also shared some tips that have worked for him throughout his career, such as the importance of being a good listener.

“Be quick to listen and slow to speak,” he said.

A former college baseball pitcher, Tyra said it is important to stay “focused on the batter” and to be a team player.

“I always say, ‘discuss, decide, support,’” he said.

Students said in surveys of the talk that they were inspired by Tyra’s words.

“My opinions were strengthened on how being ethical in everything you do can help you be successful,” one student wrote.

A student listens as Vince Tyra gives a talk at the College of Business, Sept. 12, 2018. Photo by Ron Harrison
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Janet Cappiello covers the College of Business, the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, the College of Education and Human Development, the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, Sustainability Council and military initiatives for the Office of Communications and Marketing. She has more than 30 years’ experience in journalism, including working for The Associated Press and magazines such as Vegetarian Times and Sustainability: The Journal of Record. She has been at UofL since March 2014.