TUCSON, Ariz. – University of Arizona Director of Athletics Greg Byrne has been named one of five finalists for the Sports Business Awards Athletic Director of the Year, the Sports Business Journal announced in their March 17 issue. Byrne was one of 80 nominees in 15 categories recognized by the Sports Business Awards. Nominations were made by members of the Sports Business Journal/Sports Business Daily editorial staff who met over a six-week period to debate those that stood out during a period from March 1, 2013-Feb. 28, 2014.
Byrne is joined in the Athletic Director of the Year category by Missouri’s Mike Alden, Charlotte’s Judy Rose, Duke’s Kevin White and Washington’s Scott Woodward. Nominees and winners will be recognized at an awards celebration in New York City on May 21.
Named Arizona's 11th Director of Athletics in March 2010, Byrne has helped Arizona Athletics maintain its proud position both nationally and in the Pac-12 through the department’s five goals and principles: Graduate Student-Athletes; Follow the Rules; Represent the University and Athletics Department in a First-Class Manner; Practice Sound Fiscal Management; and Compete for Championships. In addition, Byrne has spent the initial part of his tenure focused on new fundraising initiatives, member expansion for the Wildcat Club and facility upgrades.
Under his leadership, the Wildcats have seen construction completed on the $72 million Lowell-Stevens Football Facility, the addition of a video board in Arizona Stadium, a new scoreboard in the McKale Center and a new men's basketball locker room. Recently, the athletics department announced Phase I of an overall $80 million renovation project for McKale. At a cost of $30 million, Phase I is expected to start in May 2014 and is likely to include upgraded seating, hand rails, enhanced lighting, a new playing floor, locker room upgrades for men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball, and other amenities and upgrades.
Byrne also put forth a bold plan in 2011 to relocate the Arizona baseball program from its on-campus facility to an iconic minor league ballpark located in the heart of midtown Tucson. The transition to Hi Corbett Field instantly upgraded the program’s facilities and amenities available to fans. In 2012, the Wildcats hosted NCAA regional and super regional tournaments for the first time in 20 years en route to capturing the school’s fourth national championship. 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.
A native of Pocatello, Idaho, Byrne earned his bachelor's degree in 1994 and his master's degree from Mississippi State in 2009. Byrne is married to the former Regina Misa of Junction City, Ore., and the couple has two sons, Nick and Davis.