Alabama announced that current athletic director Bill Battle will retire at age 75. He has undergone treatment for multiple myeloma cancer over the course of the last two years and that has prompted Alabama to make a quick hire in order to replace him.
It’s not a bad hire by any means as Byrne has experience as athletic director at a couple of schools. He got his first AD job at Mississippi State — a good sign for Bama fans — where he hired Dan Mullen to coach the football team. He was there from 2008 to 2010 and took the Arizona job in 2010.
On the West Coast, Byrne was responsible for a long-term $378 million expansion project that was announced the year before he got there. He also hired Rich Rodriguez as football coach and moved the baseball team’s stadium off-campus. That has resulted in the third-highest attendance on the West Coast and the Wildcats hosting a Regional and Super Regional. The team also won the College World Series in 2012, giving Byrne his first championship as an AD.