Greg Byrne reportedly wanted Alabama to be his next stop long before Monday.
As reported in a piece by AL.com’s John Talty, an unnamed source reveals that the underlying reason Byrne said no to Florida for the Gators’ athletic director job was because Byrne wanted to be at Alabama. The piece mentions that Byrne, then-Arizona’s athletic director, was considered “the frontrunner” to become Florida’s next athletic director until he pulled himself out of consideration last September. Eventually, Scott Stricklin was hired from Mississippi State for the role in Gainesville.
Here’s more from Talty’s story:
After decades of staying in the Alabama family at the athletic director position, school officials saw value in bringing in an outside perspective. They put out early feelers to Byrne, the then-Arizona athletic director, and indicated interest in the 45-year old rising star. At the time, Byrne was viewed as the frontrunner to become the next Florida athletic director but pulled himself out of the running in September to stay at Arizona. The underlying reason he said no to Florida, according to sources, was his immense interest in coming to Alabama.
“He made it very clear that Alabama was his dream job,” a source said.
It’s always fascinating to hear the backstory of how high-profile hires are made. Given Byrne’s rising star within his industry, it’s no surprise to find out that Florida officials targeted him as well.
It will be interesting to compare Alabama and Florida in the coming years.