University of Alabama Athletic Director Bill Battle is stepping down.
Greg Byrne, the University of Arizona’s current athletic director, is taking over at Alabama effective March 1, according to UA news release. Byrne will be formerly introduced later this week.
UA President Stuart Bell said Byrne is uniquely qualified to lead the Crimson Tide.
“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,” Bell said in a statement. “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.”
Battle has been at the helm of the athletic department since 2013 after the death of Athletic Director Mal Moore. Battle played under coach Paul W. Bryant Jr.
He’s recently endured several health issues, fighting off cancer during the past two years, but Battle said his health was not a factor in his decision.
In a news release sent by Alabama Athletic Communications, Battle is said to be assuming a new role as a special assistant to the president and will play a role in his successor’s transition.
“Bill has done a tremendous job as Director of Athletics, and has accomplished so much during his career,” Bell said. “His business expertise, coupled with his coaching experience and his strong understanding of the role an athletic department has in the daily fabric of a university, has allowed us to achieve the great successes we have enjoyed during his tenure. We are blessed to have the continued benefit of his counsel.”
Byrne said he and his wife, Regina, are looking forward to joining the Tide.
“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,” he said. “We look forward to returning to the SEC and being a part of Alabama’s outstanding tradition.”
Byrne, who is 45, has been at Arizona since 2010. Before that, he was director of athletics at Mississippi State University.