Perhaps sensing that he’s going to have more time on his hands in his new Alabama AD job (since management of the football program boils down to “anything else you need, Nick?”), Greg Byrne has big plans elsewhere.
“I have always paid attention to things Coach Saban has said from afar because they are always well thought out,” Byrne said. “Before I knew this opportunity was going to come along, I would always listen to what he had to say. I think he cares very much about the University of Alabama, but he also cares very much about the game of football. So, as an athletic director in an evolving time, I think the platform you have here that you can have a voice in how college athletics is shaped for the future.”
Byrne seems eager to use his. In the SEC, he has established relationships with several athletic directors, including Mitch Barnhart at Kentucky, Florida’s Scott Stricklin, Mississippi State’s John Cohen and Jeff Long at Arkansas. He’s also close to SEC commissioner Greg Sankey. With a background in fundraising, Byrne knows how to lobby — a skill that could come in handy if he, Saban and the university attempt to advance a particular cause.
“The stage here at Alabama allows you that,” Byrne said.
Greg McGarity smiles and nods knowingly. Those Open Records laws don’t re-write themselves, you know.