TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (CBS Sports) — Greg Byrne, Vice President for Athletics at the University of Arizona, will become the new Director of Athletics at The University of Alabama effective March 1, pending approval of The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees. The 45-year-old Byrne, who is highly respected in his field, will be formally introduced to the media later this week.
“We knew Bill was considering a change, and we wanted to hire someone who can assume that mantle of leadership and continue the tradition of success that Bill and so many others before him have established,” said Stuart R. Bell, UA’s president, in a release. “We believe Greg Byrne is uniquely qualified for this role, and we are pleased to announce he has accepted the position of athletic director here at The University of Alabama.”
“Regina and I are honored to be joining the University of Alabama,” Byrne said in a release. “I have incredible respect and admiration for both Coach Battle and Coach Moore, as well as all of the talented coaches and staff in place. We look forward to returning to the SEC and being a part of Alabama’s outstanding tradition.”
A native of Pocatello, Idaho, Byrne accepted the Vice President for Athletics position at Arizona in March 2010. He has helped Arizona Athletics become a prominent player nationally and in the Pac-12 conference by focusing on five important principles: Graduate Student-Athletes; Follow the Rules; Represent the University and Athletic Department in a First-Class Manner; Practice Sound Fiscal Management; and Compete for Championships. During his tenure at Arizona, he has also focused on new fundraising initiatives, member expansion for the Wildcat Club and facility upgrades.
Under his leadership, the Wildcats have seen construction completed on the $72 million Lowell-Stevens Football Facility and the completion of Phase I of an overall $80 million renovation of the McKale Center, home to Arizona’s basketball program and its Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Byrne also put a bold plan in place in 2011 to relocate the Arizona baseball program from its on-campus facility to an iconic minor league ballpark, which instantly upgraded the program’s facilities and enhanced the fan experience. In 2012, the Wildcats hosted the NCAA regional and super regional tournaments for the first time in 20 years on its way to capturing the school’s fourth national championship. Average attendance nearly tripled in the first two years at the stadium.
Prior to arriving at Arizona, Byrne was Director of Athletics at Mississippi State University, where he was the youngest athletic director in the Southeastern Conference and the youngest to lead an athletic program at the NCAA Division I-A level. He started out his career at Mississippi State in 2006 as Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs. Byrne also held athletics administrative roles at the University of Oregon, Oregon State University and the University of Kentucky. He is the son of long-time athletics administrator Bill Byrne, who has over 30 years of experience as an athletic director and is the former Athletic Director at Texas A&M University.
Byrne earned his bachelor’s degree at Arizona State University in 1994 and his master’s degree from Mississippi State in 2009. He is married to the former Regina Misa of Junction City, Ore., and the couple has two sons, Nick and Davis.
Byrne will assume leadership of a highly successful athletic program at The University of Alabama, one that has won 10 national championships in five different sports and has earned 23 Southeastern Conference (SEC) titles in seven different sports since 2008. Over that span, Crimson Tide student-athletes have earned 92 individual SEC championships spanning nine different sports.
Bill Battle, the current Director of Athletics at The University of Alabama, announced Sunday evening that he is going to retire from his post to assume a new role as Special Assistant to the President.
Battle, currently in his fourth year as Director of Athletics, had led the Crimson Tide athletics department since March of 2013, when he succeeded the late Mal Moore. University of Alabama President Bell said that Battle will continue to lead the department until a successor transitions into the Director of Athletics role.