Keenum: Byrne heading to University of Arizona


March 22, 2010

Dr. Mark Keenum's statement:

"Greg Byrne has informed me that he will leave Mississippi State to accept the athletic director's job at the University of Arizona. A Wednesday press conference has been scheduled in Tucson to make that announcement. Personally, I am saddened by this news because of the deep affection that Rhonda and I have for Greg and Regina. I am professionally disappointed because of my respect and appreciation for the outstanding job he has done here.

I made every effort to convince Greg to remain in Starkville, including offering a generous package of financial incentives, but as he conveyed to me, his decision was driven by family considerations more than financial compensation. They have an opportunity to be in a place where they have roots and deep connections.

I cannot say enough about what Greg has meant to our athletic program. I began working with Greg even before assuming the presidency at MSU, during the search for a new football coach, and our relationship has always been a close one. The strong foundation he laid has created tremendous momentum and excitement and given MSU fans much to cheer about, with the promise of greater things on the horizon.

I am committed to building on that foundation by hiring an energetic and visionary leader to keep the momentum going. I am confident we will find that highly motivated, enthusiastic individual to lead our great Mississippi State University athletic program. The national search will begin immediately."