Greg Byrne Just Has To Keep Nick Saban Happy
The University of Alabama – my alma mater – has hired a new athletic director.
It’s Greg Byrne, who came from the University of Arizona.
Arizona!? The school that has never played in the Rose Bowl (once a reward for winning the league title), that has produced just two championships in two sports – basketball after several frustrating early exits in the NCAA Tournament, and in softball led by the luscious Jennie Finch!?
Alabama, of course, is a school that is used to winning championships. In addition to football (16 and counting!), there’s multiple titles in gymnastic and ones in softball and recently even in men’s golf.
Fortunately, the 45-year-old Byrne has the easiest job in college sports.
All he has to do is the following and he will be a huge, long-term success at the Capstone:
• Keep Nick Saban Happy
That’s it – just do whatever Saban asks, stay out of his way and don’t say or do anything to upset him. Saban’s football empire is driving the athletic department funding because of very happy boosters and fans. A smart athletic director won’t change a thing.
• Keep Avery Johnson Happy
While the basketball team has yet to cure it’s Anthony Grant ills of horrible shooting and untimely and lazy turnovers in Johnson’s second year, this program is about to undergo a huge turnaround and may be headed to the Final Four – certainly the Elite Eight is a possibility – as early as next year.
Johnson has signed the #3 recruiting class in the country, including two 5-star players. Johnson is a PR man’s dream and Byrne needs to keep Johnson happy in Tuscaloosa. A big part of that is focusing a lot of attention to getting people to the games by making Coleman Coliseum a “must-be-there” destination for Bama fans, students and alumni. And a miserable place to play for visiting teams.
• Support All The Other Sports
The aforementioned gymnastics, softball and golf teams appreciate the support of the athletic director but so, too, do the coaches and athletes in the other sports. And with a little push and emphasis, Bama could be a national factor in women’s basketball, volleyball and again in baseball.
• Host Multiple Cocktail Mixers With The Boosters & Alumni
When things are going well – especially with the football team – Alabama boosters and alumni like to gather at cocktail parties to discuss how well things are going. Especially with the football team.
So Byrne, stay out of Saban’s way but go out of your way to mix and mingle with the boosters and alumni.
See how simple this is – it’s why being Alabama’s athletic director with Nick Saban as the football coach is the easiest job in college sports.