It’s now official that one of the best athletic directors in all of college sports, Greg Byrne, is taking over at Alabama.
In a statement released by the school Sunday, AD Bill Battle announced that he would retire, but said that his health was not an issue. He says he promised Alabama admins that he’d only stay for four years when he was initially hired for the job in 2013. He also wants to spend some more time on his family farm in Georgia as well as his property in Wyoming.
Battle, who has battled cancer recently, will remain with the program as an advisor.
The 75-year old Battle underwent cancer treatment for multiple myeloma last summer, taking a medical leave of absence for approximately eight weeks. He returned to his duties in time for the Crimson Tide's 2016 football season.
Byrne was highly sought after for a recent big-name AD opening when Jeremy Foley stepped down at Florida. Byrne is also credited with multiple improvements to the infrastructure at Arizona.
Under his leadership, the UA has completed multiple major projects including the construction of the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility, the addition of two video boards in Arizona Stadium, and an $80 million renovation project on McKale Center.
He also helped transition Arizona baseball’s move to Hi Corbett Field, and oversaw the completion of the new softball clubhouse.
He obviously passed on the Florida offer at the time, and in his place, the Gators tapped Scott Stricklin for the job. Stricklin succeeded Byrne at Mississippi State when the latter left Starkville for Tucson.
At only 45, Byrne could be in place as head of the Crimson Tide’s athletic department for quite a while.