AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn athletics is headed in a new direction as Buffalo athletics director Allen Greene was named to the same position for the Tigers on Thursday.
Greene is an outside-the-box hire for Auburn, which has long given its top spot in athletics administration to alumni of the university or former coaches. Greene has worked across the country in athletics, but his job in Auburn will be his first in Alabama.
Here are five things to know about Greene, who will be formally introduced as Auburn’s new athletic director at 10 a.m. CT Friday.
1. Allen Greene has zero ties to Auburn
After decades of athletic directors who either played or coached at Auburn, Greene is a step in a brand-new direction for the Tigers. Greene was born in Seattle and played college baseball at Notre Dame. After several years in the New York Yankees farm system, he received his master’s degree from Indiana and returned to his alma mater to work.
Greene’s only regional ties come through Ole Miss, where he spent several years working in the Rebels athletic department. He followed Danny White to Buffalo and was a deputy athletics director there before White’s departure to UCF. Greene knows the SEC, but he doesn’t have any prior connection to Auburn. That was a major sticking point for certain power brokers at Auburn and members of the fan base. Former AD Jay Jacobs spent almost his entire post-college career working for the school.
2. Greene is known for his fundraising skills
Greene’s time at Ole Miss was mostly spent in fundraising. He was a major part of a $150 million capital campaign, which was the largest in school history. At Buffalo, he helped secure funding for an $18 million indoor football practice facility — something that was discussed at the school for a long time.
He will step into a situation that needs his expertise, as Auburn is in the midst of several major facilities projects. A new football operations building seems to be high on the priority list for Gus Malzahn, especially after he was armed with a seven-year contract late last year. Greene’s experience in generating funding will come in handy for the Tigers.
3. Greene has experience in key administration areas
While Greene’s strong suit is fundraising, he appears to be a well-rounded hire. At Notre Dame, he spent several years working in compliance, then in athletics advancement (fundraising). During his time at Buffalo, Greene oversaw operations for the Bulls’ football and basketball programs.
He hasn’t made a head coach hire in a major sport yet, but Auburn should be set up well for the future in that area with Gus Malzahn, Bruce Pearl, Butch Thompson and Mickey Dean. Greene doesn’t have many years under his belt as a top athletics director. However, he’s been involved in a lot of areas at a wide range of schools.
4. Greene is one of youngest athletic directors in country
Greene was 38 years old when he was hired as White’s replacement at Buffalo. He is now 40 and will turn 41 in April — his third month on the job at Auburn. Greene has accomplished a lot in a short amount of time when it comes to college athletics.
Greene’s energy and enthusiasm should serve the Tigers well as they step into what Auburn president Steven Leath called a “new chapter” for athletics. For decades now, Auburn athletics has been run by, for lack of a better term, older Auburn people. Greene should provide a shot of new energy.
5. Greene is third African-American athletics director in SEC history
When Greene takes over day-to-day operations at Auburn in February, he will become the SEC’s third African-American athletics director and Auburn’s first. Vanderbilt’s David Williams and former Georgia athletics director Damon Evans were the first two.
Greene is a trailblazer for Auburn and the SEC, as Williams and Evans were hired to their positions from within. He is the first African-American athletics director to be brought in as an outside hire. Under Greene’s leadership, Buffalo recently won an NCAA award for diversity and inclusion.