Big 12: Bill Byrne

Fun with Big 12 AD salaries!

May, 24, 2012
USA Today released its annual survey of athletic director salaries, noting that they're rising almost as fast as coaching salaries. How did the Big 12 stack up?

Here's how they ranked:
  • DeLoss Dodds, Texas: $1,095,756
  • Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma: $975,000
  • Bill Byrne, Texas A&M: $690,000
  • Mike Alden, Missouri: $659,775
  • Kirby Hocutt, Texas Tech: $580,000
  • Jamie Pollard, Iowa State: $450,000
  • Sheahon Zenger, Kansas: $450,000
  • Ian McCaw, Baylor: $423,449
  • John Currie, Kansas State: $412,500
  • Mike Holder, Oklahoma State: $387,560

I kept old Big 12 schools in this list because they were in the Big 12 when these numbers were taken.

For the new schools?
  • Oliver Luck, West Virginia: $405,600
  • TCU's Chris Del Conte was paid $115,639 for a partial-year salary. He took over in October 2009, and his full salary was not available on public tax returns.

The most surprising name on the list was Mike Holder, who is at the bottom of the list, despite holding the position since 2005. Oklahoma State's not exactly starved for money these days, either.

Kansas State's John Currie is a newcomer to the job, and a first-time athletic director who has helped K-State become the most profitable athletic department in the country. You've got to expect a raise is coming his way, even though he had a high-profile gaffe when hoops coach Frank Martin exited stage right all the way to South Carolina.

Not surprising to see Texas and OU at the top, but that's a pretty big gap between Dodds, Castiglione and the rest of the league, especially now that Missouri and Texas A&M are gone.

Dodds is only the fourth-highest paid AD, behind Vanderbilt, Florida and Louisville's athletic directors.

What else stuck out to you?

Lunch links: Stacking up coaching salaries

May, 9, 2012
Sent from one of my four iPads? This guy sounds amazing.

Roundup: Texas injury; A&M AD talks exit

March, 26, 2012
Here's a quick look at what you missed over the weekend.

Texas CB Diggs out with a wrist injury

Texas starting cornerback Quandre Diggs will miss the rest of the spring after undergoing surgery on his left wrist on Saturday.

He's expected to be available for the season, but as a rising sophomore, it's not what Texas would want to see from a young player with All-American potential.

The silver lining? Texas has just one week left in spring practice, so Diggs won't miss a ton of team action. Texas' spring game is next Sunday.

Diggs led the Longhorns with four interceptions last season and broke up 15 passes. He also made 49 tackles.

Byrne opens up about Texas A&M's SEC decision

Texas A&M is making preparations for its move to the SEC, which goes official on July 1. Athletic director Bill Byrne talked about the past decision and the future in the new league with the Birmingham News.

Change can be difficult in the small things.

"You wouldn't believe how many Big 12 logos we have up around this campus because we were one of the original members," Byrne told the paper.

He also noted the stability in the SEC, which famously does not have exit fees. Texas A&M is being penalized just over $9 million by the Big 12 to leave for the SEC.

"I think it was a brilliant move to go to the Southeastern Conference, which screams stability," Byrne said. "No one is trying to get out of the Southeastern Conference. That's not true of the current conference we're in."

And about that Texas rivalry? Byrne seems to be in disbelief about the Longhorns' insistence on being the side who officially brings the Lone Star Showdown to an end.

Texas insinuated that if Texas A&M left the league, the rivalry would be finished, but the Aggies pulled the trigger anyway.

"I feel badly about that," Byrne said. "I'm very foolish. I assumed -- and it was a rash assumption on my part -- that our friends over in the state capital would want to continue playing us. It turns out they didn't think we were as much of a rival as we thought of them."

He's absolutely right about that. The Longhorns' premier rivalry is Oklahoma, but for the Aggies, that's not the case.

They're now left to find a new rival in a new league. Expect it to be LSU.

Lunch links: About that Big 12 schedule ...

February, 13, 2012
Oh, Paul McCartney. Yup.

Aggies AD defends firing over the phone

December, 8, 2011
Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman told reporters last week that he was notified he had been fired over the phone by Aggies athletic director Bill Byrne, leading some to criticize what seemed to be a cold measure.

As news of the firing leaked onto Twitter and news sites, Byrne had to act fast.

In his weekly web address on the school's website, Byrne defended the decision.
"What we believed to be a confidential decision was becoming public quickly. The last thing I wanted was to inform Mike Sherman of the decision via telephone, but with the news breaking and Mike on the road recruiting, I had no other choice. I’m extremely disappointed someone felt empowered to tell the media of this sensitive information before our head coach was informed. This action only hurt good people and their families. Social media reaches everyone these days, and this information reached the children of some of our assistant coaches before I could inform Mike, and before Mike could inform his staff and players.

Mike deserved to hear from me before he heard the news from anyone else. Needless to say, calling Mike on the phone was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. That’s not how I like to conduct business."

Since then, Byrne's made his way to New York and continued to conduct the search for the new head Aggie.

My biggest question in all this: Sherman was at the Texas A&M facilities on Thursday before leaving later in the day to recruit. This was reported by several outlets.

It was very, very clear that Sherman's status was in flux. As a coach, he's going to keep working until someone tells him to stop (even if it's by phone).

Someone couldn't have stepped in, however, and said going on the road wasn't the best idea until his status was settled?

That could have prevented this incident entirely.

Texas A&M fires coach Mike Sherman

December, 1, 2011

Texas A&M football coach Mike Sherman has been fired, university athletic director Bill Byrne said Thursday.

The school has yet to decide on an interim coach for the Aggies (6-6, 4-5 Big 12), who are eligible to play in a bowl game, Byrne said in a statement announcing the decision.

Sherman was 25-25 in four seasons.

More coming on the blog shortly.

Spoiler alert: Not the right call, Aggies.

Byrne said Sherman had run the football program with "the highest levels of character and integrity" in four seasons and put the welfare of student-athletes first.

"He is truly one of the great offensive minds in football, both collegiate and professional, and I know that he has much to offer the game of football in the future," Byrne said of Sherman.

Lunch links: Strong words for rivals

November, 22, 2011
You named your baby Hurricane?

UT-A&M rivalry: Playing the blame game

October, 17, 2011
Trying to hand out blame for the Big 12's diminishment over the last 16 months is a bit too convoluted. By now, just about everyone involved has had a hand in it.

But the possible end of the Lone Star Showdown, at least in football?

That's a bit easier.

Texas A&M's stance has been consistent throughout, punctuated by a repeated, clear stance on the issue.

"We want to make it abundantly clear we will play the game anywhere, any time," new Texas A&M chancellor John Sharp told the Austin American-Statesman last month. "If that game dies, it will not be on us. That game is bigger than Texas and bigger than A&M. That game belongs to the people of Texas, and if it goes away, it's not going to be on our watch."

Texas AD DeLoss Dodds, who admitted last month that scheduling the Aggies would be "problematic," delivered what may have been the rivalry's final blow on Friday.

"In my e-mail to [Texas A&M AD] Bill Byrne, I wrote that we were not in a position now to look at future football scheduling," Dodds said. "We're scheduled out with nonconference games through 2018 and our Big 12 schedule is not yet settled. What we have right now is a full schedule but if any future options are available, the decision will not be made by just one person."

Last month, Dodds had this to say: "We didn't leave the conference. They did. ... We'll make a decision that's best for Texas."

Each side is looking to pass the blame off to the other.

Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin told the Associated Press on Sunday: "We're able to accommodate them anytime they want to make that happen. ... It's their choice, obviously."

Sorry, guys. This one must be shared.

And drink it in, Lone Star State rivals, because it might be the last time you share anything for awhile, save a mutual disdain for one another.

This may return at some point in the future. In time, I'm betting it does. But the loss of this heated, annual rivalry is the most disheartening consequence of any recent college football realignment move.

As much as fans were clamoring to see Wyoming and New Mexico come to Austin in 2012, I'm betting all sides would have understood if those contracts had to be broken to make room for the Aggies. Pay to get out of those contracts? No, Texas shouldn't have to because of the Aggies' choice, but I'm also betting Texas A&M might have been willing to chip in on the cost to keep the rivalry going.

If nothing else, it would have forced A&M to quite literally put its money where its mouth is.

This rivalry dates back to 1894, is each school's most-played rivalry, and has been played every single year since 1914, a stretch of 97 seasons. It's the third-most played rivalry in college sports and the most-played intra-state rivalry.

Texas refusing to schedule A&M may kill one of college football's best rivalries, but the Aggies helped.

Texas delivered the death blow with the rivalry still salvageable. Texas A&M's move to the SEC, though clubbed the rivalry over the head, and put it in jeopardy.

Divy out percentages all you liked, but Dodds is both right and stubborn. Texas has been nothing if not consistent, insinutating throughout the process that if Texas A&M left the conference, the rivalry would be discontinued.

Texas A&M left the conference. Dodds is willing to sacrifice tradition for ego.

You know, like A&M sacrificed more than a century of tradition for "increased visibility for its student-athletes."

What, pray tell, was keeping Aggie athletes out of the spotlight? I'll hang up and listen.

The Aggies made their choice. Nobody, especially not Dodds, forced them to leave.

Dodds made his.

Now, college football fans may have to live with the consequences.

A&M AD still fired up about StinkBus2K11

October, 12, 2011
Earlier this week, Texas Tech investigated vandalism on Texas A&M buses and released a statement scolding Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne's "careless" use of social media.

He claimed the buses were spray painted with vulgarities on the outside and there was excrement on the inside and outside of buses.

Texas Tech's investigation revealed that the buses had washable shoe polish on them and there was fish bait inside one of the buses. The mess was also cleaned before Byrne saw it, though a strong smell lingered.

In his Wednesday Weekly column on Texas A&M's website, Bill Byrne had this to say:
"I don’t feel the need to defend my comments about the incident in Lubbock because whatever was thrown on that bus sure stunk and I know vandalism when I see it. I took personal offense just as I would have if someone did this to my own car. This was a first in my 28 years as an Athletic Director ... and hopefully a last."

He noted that A&M's media relations staff was given a gift by the Texas Tech staff to commemmorate the final game before Texas A&M leaves for the SEC, but Byrne wasn't happy about Texas A&M's injured players being booed, either.
"Apparently, they felt the injuries were faked in an attempt to slow the game down. I was in the locker room after we won the game and can attest to the separated shoulder, dislocated elbow, knee injuries, and concussion suffered by members of our team. It was a hard hitting game. We don’t coach our athletes to fake injuries. We’ve never done it before, and we are not going to in the future."

Texas A&M coaches also denied that players had faked injuries, and Texas Tech's coaches backed off their postgame comments earlier this week.
Texas Tech "strongly condemned" vandalism that targeted Texas A&M team buses this weekend, but disputed what it called a "careless" tweet by Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne.
Before Saturday night's game, A&M athletic director Bill Byrne said that manure went "from one end to the other" in one bus and was spread on the outside of three others. He tweeted the buses were "spray-painted."

Texas Tech said the buses were not spray painted, but washable shoe polish was used on the windows of one of the buses. Tech also said "No feces were found either in or on the buses. Fish bait was dropped onto the floor of one of the buses."

The mess was cleaned up by bus drivers and Holiday Inn staff before Byrne saw it.

"While incidents such as the ones alleged are inappropriate and strongly condemned by Texas Tech, it is no less wrong to condemn the entirety of our university, students and supporters by posting inaccurate information on the internet for the purpose of sensationalizing the actions of one or a very few," Texas Tech said in a statement.

Ugly incident targets A&M buses in Lubbock

October, 8, 2011
Texas A&M's team buses were vandalized at the team's hotel sometime Friday night or Saturday morning, Texas A&M officials said on Saturday.

From Texas A&M:
Texas Tech logos and some derogatory comments were written on the buses in washable paint. One of the buses could not be locked. Inside of that bus, some type of animal excrement has been spread throughout.

Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne weighed in with a tweet on Saturday, too.

"Someone vandalized our buses in Lubbock. Excrement inside and outside of buses plus spray painted vulgarities on outside. Classy," he wrote.

"Bus 3 still reeks," he added later.

Texas Tech spokesman Blayne Beal told the San Antonio Express-News that the incident was "unfortunate" and it was "sad to see sportsmanship" compromised.

DeLoss Dodds: Big 12's highest-paid AD

October, 6, 2011
USA Today dug up the salaries for athletic directors at every FBS school, and in the Big 12, it's no surprise who came out on top.

Texas' DeLoss Dodds was one of six athletic directors making over $1 million.

Here's how the Big 12 ranked:

DeLoss Dodds, Texas: $1,095,756

Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma: $975,000

Bill Byrne, Texas A&M: $690,000

Mike Alden, Missouri: $659,775

Kirby Hocutt, Texas Tech: $580,000

Jamie Pollard, Iowa State: $450,000

Sheahon Zenger, Kansas: $450,000

Ian McCaw, Baylor: $423, 449

John Currie, Kansas State: $412,500

Mike Holder, Oklahoma State: $387,560

A&M-SEC presence already evident

October, 1, 2011
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas A&M won't be joining the SEC until next year, but the Aggies were welcomed with a brief ceremony at halftime.

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long and chancellor Dave Gearhart presented Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin and athletic director Bill Byrne with a football commemorating the Aggies' new conference membership.

The big screen at Cowboys Stadium also showed a promotional video for Texas A&M to the SEC in 2012, which was welcomed by one of the day's loudest "Whoops!" from the Aggies fans.

Lunch links: Missouri flight tracking

September, 29, 2011
How awesome are people?
Texas A&M announced its intention to explore its options regarding conference affiliation on Thursday.

That was followed by the school's athletic director, Bill Byrne, stating that he'd support the Aggies intention to do so.

Now, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has responded, confirming reports that the Big 12 is set on expansion should the Aggies leave, but reiterating the league's "strong desire" that the Aggies stay.

"The letter received today from Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin will be addressed by the Big 12 Conference Board of Directors," he said. "It remains our strong desire for Texas A&M to continue as a member of the Big 12 and we are working toward that end. However, if it is decided otherwise, the Conference is poised to move aggressively with options."

The league's board of directors is set to meet on Saturday.