Greg Byrne knew. Even in third grade. The other kids in class, when they had to write a story about what they wanted to be when they grew up, picked jobs such as police officer and firefighter.
Byrne wanted to be like his father, Bill.
He wanted to be an athletics director.
Now he is, at Mississippi State, at age 37.
Mal Moore came later to the job. Now in his ninth year as the Alabama AD, he assumed the position a month before his 60th birthday.
When did Moore start dreaming of becoming an athletics director?
“Never,” he said. “That was the furthest thing from my mind, that this would ever happen to me.”
A funny thing has happened to the athletics directors in the Southeastern Conference. The old coaches who used to dominate the position have given way to younger career administrators.
Six years ago, five of the 12 SEC athletics departments were led by men who came to fame at their schools as coaches: Moore, Arkansas’s Frank Broyles, Georgia’s Vince Dooley, LSU’s Skip Bertman and Tennessee’s Doug Dickey.
“Those guys weren’t just figureheads,” Florida Athletics Director Jeremy Foley said. “They were quality ADs.”