June 16, 2022 – After a national search, Raleigh, NC-based Collegiate Sports Associates (CSA) recently helped the University of Louisville in Kentucky place Josh Heird as its athletic director. Mr. Heird had been serving as interim AD since late last year, after the resignation of Vince Tyra. He had previously been deputy athletic director. In a special meeting last Friday, the University of Louisville Athletic Association’s board of directors and personnel committee approved Mr. Heird’s promotion. His five-year contract will run through June 2027. His base annual salary is expected to be $850,000 plus incentives.
“Josh is our new director because he represents who we are today and who we aspire to be,” said Lori Stewart Gonzalez, Louisville’s interim president. “He has demonstrated time and again that not only is he ready to lead our program – he is ready to elevate it.”
“I want everyone involved with this program to understand this is one of the best jobs in college athletics,” said Mr. Heird. “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.”
Before joining Louisville in 2019, Mr. Heird worked as a senior associate athletic director at Villanova. He had previously served at Louisville from 2007 to 2016; that stint included four years as assistant athletic director for championships and facilities.
The university’s personnel committee had interviewed a number of candidates prior to choosing Mr. Heird, according to ESPN’s website.
CSA was charging $90,000 plus approved expenses for its part in the search, according to a report from the Louisville Courier Journal. The firm’s base fee was $60,000 less than the university paid Korn Ferry for the search that resulted in Mr. Tyra’s interim role being made permanent in 2018, “and it falls in the lower range of proposals obtained by the Courier Journal through an open records request,” said the newspaper
“CSA says its searches have led to the hiring of more than 50 Division I athletic directors, including five Power Five conference positions in the 24 months preceding its proposal to U of L,” said the Louisville Courier Journal. “It has pledged to not conduct another Power Five AD search while working for U of L, and guaranteed it will perform another search for expenses only should a candidate it introduces be either terminated or resign within a year of being hired.”
The Search Process
“We are aware that the university has conducted listening sessions with key constituent groups,” CSA’s proposal said, according to the newspaper. “Using the results of these sessions as a starting point, we will follow up with private conversations with university identified stakeholders to further assess the expectations and opinions about the position. CSA will then develop and submit for university review and approval a required set of skills and competencies for the position.”
During Mr. Heird’s tenure as interim AD, Louisville men’s basketball coach Chris Mack resigned and former Cardinal Kenny Payne was hired for the role. In addition, the university’s women’s basketball team reached the NCAA Final Four for the fourth time under coach Jeff Walz. Earlier this year, Mr. Walz had his contract extended.
The University of Louisville Athletics is home to 23 varsity sports and over 700 student-athletes. The University of Louisville Athletic Association Inc. is a non-profit corporation that has control of the intercollegiate athletics program at the university.
Founded in 2008, Collegiate Sports Associates helps recruit talent for athletics programs at NCAA Division I universities and conferences across the U.S. The firm’s network of associates includes current and former Division I athletics directors and other senior university and conference officials, including commissioners, presidents, faculty athletics representatives, coaches, and associate athletics directors.
CSA founder and president Todd Turner has over 30 years of experience in intercollegiate athletics, 21 of which were as the athletics director at four major Division I FBS/BCS institutions. By coupling Mr. Turner’s experience and thriving personal relationships throughout higher education with top-level professional consulting and search services, Collegiate Sports Associates has a reputation for delivering a unique level of service.
Among its previous placements, Collegiate Sports Associates has helped recruit athletic directors for Boston College, the University of Mississippi, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, Clemson, and Penn State. The firm has placed head football coaches for Miami, Yale, and Boise State, among others. And it has helped to find head basketball coaches for Cal, Kansas State, Fresno State, and Oklahoma.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media