Pitt AD Heather Lyke Moving On 'For Right Now' From Penn State Series

Lyke also talks new ACC Network, Narduzzi, men's basketball program

The Fan Morning Show
June 05, 2019 - 11:24 am
Heather Lyke in-studio w/ The Fan Morning Show

93.7 The Fan

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan)- Pitt's athletics program is about to get a lot more coverage thanks to the brand new ACC Network launching on August 22nd as a part of ESPN.

Pitt athletics director Heather Lyke joined The Fan Morning Show in-studio Wednesday ahead of meeting with reporters and talked about the opportunities the network will provide. 

"I think we've learned from some of the other networks that have started, we've got a great partner with ESPN. I couldn't be more excited for the ACC Network coming."

You need to call your cable company and find out if it's going to carry the ACC Network. Distribution is going well but really this is a critical time, the next 78 days before launch. ESPN and the cable companies are in serious negotiations about carrying the network. That's really one of the important messages, if you don't know, if I were you, if you're a Pitt fan or if you're a sports fan in general, you're going to want the ACC Network. So, call your cable company and don't ask but demand. Say, 'I want you to carry the ACC Network and if you don't, I'm going to find a cable company that does because there's plenty out there that are.

I would say the ACC conference is arguably the most competitive conference in the country. We won seven national championship at six different schools last year. The ACC Network will carry over 450 live sporting events, it'll carry over 40 football games and over 150 men's and women's basketball games. You're going to have great live content from a really, really competitive conference." 

Looking at the Pitt program particularly, Lyke seems satisfied with the way head coach Pat Narduzzi and his staff are running the football program. 

"I would characterize this program absolutely headed in the right direction. For a team to start last year at 2-4, I think everybody was a little concerned. It was a very tough schedule in tough conditions, obviously both teams are playing in it so weather is never an excuse.

But to see that team not give up and have the resilience that they had throughout the season and finish on the Coastal side 6-2 going into that ACC Championship Game, and seeing...I don't think we played exceptionally well...but I think we played as well as Alabama did in the College Football Playoff and I was at both games. 

So, I think that this team is absolutely headed in the right direction. We've got leaders on that team that are just really impressive kids to be around, incredibly mature." 

And about that Pitt-Penn State series coming to a halt, Lyke says there's nothing left to do than move forward. 

"You have to for right now. I mean I'm not going to say it's over because there's years to come. I think that there's always a willingness on Pitt's part, we'd love to play the game. I think it's a tremendous game, obvious it's the 100th year coming up this year. Rivalries and tradition are what make college sports what it is, so we're always willing to play." 

Related: Kick Off Time Set For 100th Meeting Between Pitt/Penn State

Lyke also couldn't be happier with new men's basketball head coach Jeff Capel and the job he did in his first year. 

"Jeff's just been an incredible addition to Pittsburgh and to Pitt athletics. He's just an unbelievable leader. I think what impressed me most that I did not expect just from meeting him and studying him and getting to know him is the relationships he built with the kids and the real connection he has with the student athletes.

I only expect better things with that program. He's got an unbelievable coaching staff, I mean just some veteran leaders on that coaching staff. We're going to be better. There's no doubt. We lost a number of games by a handful of points and we're going to be in the hunt for trying to get back into the middle of the pack. Right now [that is] really what we want to be. 

If you're in the top half of the ACC, you're in the tournament. Once you get in the tournament, we all know anything can happen. Recruiting's key and he's after it right now."

You can listen to the entire interview with Pitt athletics director Heather Lyke on The Fan Morning Show below.  

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