Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin said Friday that AD Bill Byrne "would not serve beyond his current contract, which ends Aug. 31, 2013," according to Chuck Carlton of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. A new AD "could be in place long before that date as part of a transition." A source indicated that "A&M had not started a search for a replacement, nor had any candidates been identified." However, "things could happen quickly" and Loftin's comments regarding Byrne's departure "will probably accelerate the process." Loftin said that "no timetable exists for a replacement." Byrne, who was hired in December '02, "might be the most successful athletic director in school history." Byrne has "overseen national championships in men's and women's track, men's golf and women's basketball during that time." Men's basketball, "long a coach's graveyard, was transformed by Byrne's hiring of Billy Gillispie." Byrne also "spearheaded an indoor football practice facility, the renovation of Olsen Field and a basketball practice facility." However, Texas A&M football "has been inconsistent, going 58-54 in Byrne's tenure" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/21). Loftin said he and Byrne "have been engaged for several months in conversations about the future." Loftin said that Texas A&M "intends to pay the remainder of Byrne's contract ... but that Byrne's duties are to be determined over that span." An A&M official said Friday that "now is the time for a 'natural transition' to a new athletic director because of the move to the SEC," and that discussions are "amicable" between the parties concerning Byrne's exit (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 4/21). In Austin, Kirk Bohls writes, "Firing Byrne is a horrible mistake because the program he helped build was one of the main reasons the SEC was attracted to the Aggies." Bohls adds that Byrne will likely "be gone by the end of summer, when the heavy lifting for SEC inclusion has been completed" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 4/23).
GOPHER THE GOLD: In St. Paul, Charley Walters wrote the Univ. of Minnesota's "official hiring" of Virginia Commonwealth Univ. AD Norwood Teague to the same position is "expected to be announced" today. Teague is "expected to receive a contract in the $400,000 range -- nearly double his VCU salary -- and for at least five years." Teague has been AD at VCU since '06. A Univ. of Minnesota four-person AD search committee, as well as a 25-member broader search committee, was scheduled to "meet with Teague early Monday morning," with assorted meetings with UM coaches, senior staff and faculty members continuing "throughout the morning." Teague is then "expected to meet alone with" UM President Eric Kaler for a formal interview "where length of contract and salary are expected to be finalized" (ST. PAUL PIONEER-PRESS, 4/22). UM search committee co-Chair Mary Jo Kane inidcated that Teague "is a skilled fundraiser, an impressive leader, kept a hot-commodity basketball coach after a surprise Final Four run and dazzled the university's search committee with his preparation for his off-campus interview this past week" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/23).