Arizona Wildcats athletic director Greg Byrne headed to Alabama

Posted at 8:09 PM, Jan 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-17 11:09:11-05

The man who has served as the Arizona Wildcats' athletic director since 2010 is headed back to the SEC.

On Monday morning, The University of Alabama confirmed what the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson reported Sunday: UA athletic director Greg Byrne will be the next AD at Alabama. He will begin duties March 1, pending approval by the Alabama System Board of Trustees.

Byrne will replace Alabama's current AD, Bill Battle, who is expected to retire for health reasons, according to the Star.

The 45-year-old Byrne hired Rich Rodriguez as UA's football coach after the 2011 season. He also hired first-year women's basketball coach Adia Barnes, along with baseball coach Jay Johnson, who led the Wildcats to the College World Series national championship game in 2016, his first season in Tucson.

Byrne was previously the AD at Mississippi State from 2008-10. UA's athletic department budget has grown from $45 million to $80 million under Byrne, according to the Star.

USA TODAY's Dan Wolken reported Byrne has already reached out to potential candidates to replace him at Arizona.

UA senior associate athletic director Erika Hanson Barnes has been named the Wildcats' interim athletic director. Barnes played for the Arizona softball team that won the 2001 national championship.