Greg Byrne is an Arizona State alum, and has been the athletic director at the University of Arizona, along with athletic department roles at Oregon and Oregon State. Right now, he may have the best AD gig in the country, leading the athletic department at Alabama.
He took over in 2017, in the midst of Nick Saban’s impressive run with the Crimson Tide football program. He’s helped elevate other programs under his umbrella, most notably the men’s basketball program with the hire of Nate Oats. That has had a major impact in just a few years. The Crimson Tide are a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament after winning the SEC regular season and tournament, and are set to play in the Sweet 16 this weekend.
There aren’t many natural steps up the ladder for Byrne, from arguably the top athletic director role available. Power Five conference commissioner would potentially be one. The Pac-12 is currently looking for Larry Scott‘s replacement, after the league parted ways with the unpopular administrator in January. As someone with deep Pac-12 ties, Byrne’s name has naturally come up. However, it doesn’t sound like he’s interested one bit.
“It’s certainly flattering to be mentioned for such a prestigious position,” Byrne told The Tuscaloosa News, acknowledging he and his wife’s connections to the area. “Regina and I grew up in the Pac-12 footprint and have many friends and fond memories out there. However, the University of Alabama has become our home and it is an honor to work here with our incredible student-athletes, coaches, staff, university and fans.”
— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) March 26, 2021
“We have a lot of positive momentum across our department,” Byrne added. “This is where we hope to finish our career and do all we can to make a positive impact. I will not be a candidate for the Pac-12 commissioner.”
Byrne is just 49 years old, so if he wants Alabama to be where his career ends, he could have a very long, prosperous tenure there. He replaced Bill Battle, who was in the post from 2013-17, but his predecessor Mal Moore was Alabama’s AD from 1999-2013 after six years as an assistant AD.
Assuming Greg Byrne sticks around for a while, he’ll likely have the chance to hire Nick Saban‘s successor to lead the football program. Nailing that hire would certainly secure his legacy in Tuscaloosa.