Greg Byrne was named the Arizona Wildcats’ 11th athletic director in March 2010 and officially started in that role on May 3, 2010. He begins in that capacity at Alabama on March 1.
The following is a timeline of major facility developments and coaching hirings and dismissals occurring during his time as athletic director at Arizona. For more in-depth analysis of some of the triumphs and tribulations of Byrne’s tenure at Arizona read this article written by our Anthony Gimino.
2010 — Hired women’s golf coach Laura Ianello after not renewing the contract of three-year coach Shelly Haywood.
2011 — Addition of 5,356-square-foot state-of-the-art video board above the south stands at Arizona Stadium
2011 — Hired Arizona alum and Wisconsin coach Eric Hansen as the men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach to replace Frank Busch, who resigned to become USA Swimming’s national team director.
2011 — Fired Mike Stoops midway through the football season and hired former West Virginia and Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez in November of that year.
2012 — Hired Texas A&M assistant Jim Anderson as men’s golf coach to replace Rick LaRose, who retired after 34 seasons as head coach.
2012 — Relocated the Arizona baseball program from its on-campus facility to the minor-league ballpark Hi Corbett Field, located in midtown Tucson. Average attendance in the first two years at the stadium nearly tripled with two of the program’s top-three total attendance figures being reported. Beer sales are permitted at the off-campus site.
2012 — Hired Stephen F. Austin coach Tony Amato as women’s soccer coach, taking over for Lisa Oyen, who resigned after compiling a record of 12-40-7 in three seasons.
2013 — Tabbed Steve Walker, an assistant under volleyball coach David Rubio, as the head coach for the new sand volleyball program that began competition in 2014.
2013 — Construction completed on the $72 million Lowell-Stevens Football Facility on the north end of the stadium, including seating that closed the “U” at that end. The plans for the facility were completed under former Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood.
2014 — Another video board installed in the northwest corner of the stadium in time for the 2014 season
2014 — New scoreboard installed at McKale Center that features four 19’ x 11’ video screens totaling 836 square feet, which is more than two-and-half times larger than the previous board
2014 — Named former Arizona swimming standout Rick DeMont as the new men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach after Hansen resigned following a leave of absence starting in October 2013.
2014 — Completion of Phase I of an $80 million renovation project for McKale that cost $30 million. Included upgrades to seating, hand rails, enhanced lighting and new playing floor. Renovation also addressed concessions, restrooms and locker rooms for men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and sand volleyball. The next phase for the project could include an enclosure over the outside concourses, creating much more space for concessions and restrooms. The phase 1 improvements in those areas were short-term fixes, according to Byrne.
2015 — Hired Stanford assistant Tabitha Yim as the gymnastics coach replacing Bill Ryden, who resigned after 17 years as the head coach.
2015 — Hired Nevada coach Jay Johnson as the new baseball coach following the retirement of Andy Lopez because of health reasons following 14 years as head coach and 33 years overall as a coach.
2016 — Hired former Arizona women’s basketball standout Adia Barnes as the new coach of the program after firing Niya Butts, an eight-year coach for the Wildcats who compiled a record of 101-149.
2016 — Hired Utah State coach Clancy Shields to be the head coach of the men’s tennis program replacing Tad Berkowitz, who resigned after 12 years as head coach to pursue opportunities outside of coaching.
2016 — The 15,000-square foot Clements Academic Center is completed south of McKale (part of Sancet Field). It was built to streamline the support provided by the C.A.T.S. Academics department.
ARIZONA ATHLETIC DIRECTORS
1904-12: Orin Kates
1912-13: Raymond Leamore Quigley
1914-57: J.F. “Pop” McKale
1957-58: Joseph Picard
1958-72: M.R. “Dick” Clausen
1972-82: David H. Strack
1982: Billy Joe Varney (acting)
1982-93: Cedric W. Dempsey
1994-2009: Jim Livengood
2010: Rocky LaRose (acting)
2010-17: Greg Byrne
2017-future: To be determined
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.