First, yes, the pun in the headline was intended.
Second, yes, Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne will be stepping down today at a press conference in College Station. Yesterday, he gave no details to the press that caught up with him after he met with Aggie coaches, assistants, and other athletic department personnel who’d worked under him.
“I have nothing to say at this time,” he told reporters. ”I’ll see you guys, tomorrow. Thanks for coming out.”
It’s been well-documented that Byrne was a pro-Big 12 man. In addition, one of his underlings was caught posting insulting comments about A&M president R. Bowen Loftin on an Aggie messageboard last year. This departure has been coming for a while.
Last month, Loftin announced that Byrne would transition into a new role to serve out the remaining year on his contract, but we called phooey on that at the time. Now, indeed, Byrne is being bought out and he will most likely head quickly for the nearest exit. An A&M source told MrSEC.com this morning that he would be “shocked” if Byrne’s still around come football season.
The Bryan-College Station Eagle reports on yesterday’s meeting between Byrne and many of his longtime employees:
“According to sources inside the meeting, Byrne spoke for a little over a minute, held his emotions in check and was straight and to the point. Multiple coaches did get emotional during the meeting. Byrne’s son, Greg, was also in attendance. He is the athletic director at the University of Arizona. There were no representatives from the president’s office at the meeting.”
SEC fans remember Greg Byrne from his successful tenure as Mississippi State’s athletic director.
Today’s presser is scheduled for 1:30pm ET. The next step — obviously — is for A&M’s president to find the right person to lead Aggie athletics into the Southeastern Conference. The best bet? Grabbing an existing SEC athletic director or assistant athletic director who also has some ties back to A&M. In this case, the Aggies’ new AD will need to know two cultures and it’s best if he only has to learn one… or neither, in the case that Loftin can find someone with both A&M and SEC ties.