Arizona athletics: Byrne gets raise, extended deal

Regents OK contract that includes bonus if he stays full 5 years
2011-09-23T00:01:00Z 2014-07-08T16:19:17Z Arizona athletics: Byrne gets raise, extended dealPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
September 23, 2011 12:01 am  • 

About a year and a half after taking over as the Arizona Wildcats athletic director, Greg Byrne was given a raise and a contract extension Thursday.

The Arizona Board of Regents approved the deal, proposed by UA interim president Eugene Sander, at its Flagstaff meeting.

Byrne will receive an extra $110,000 per year, setting his annual compensation at $440,000, starting Oct. 1. The salary does not include a $60,000 package for his participation in public appearances, UA-approved sponsorships, and other duties.

Byrne's contract was lengthened by 17 months, to Sept. 29, 2016.

He also received, at the UA's suggestion, a $100,000-per-year retention bonus.

He can collect the $500,000 total bonus only if he completes the entirety of his five-year deal.

"I'm very appreciative of the opportunity, and also the responsibility, that we've been given," Byrne said. "I want to be here for a long time."

Byrne liked the additional stability of the deal, given that Sander is operating as the interim president.

"There's a transition in leadership right now, and Dr. Sander's doing a great job," Byrne said. "It's nice to know that whenever the permanent president is named, that that's something that has already been addressed."

In addition to Byrne's accomplishments since taking over May 1, 2010 - he led a group that raised a record $20 million for the athletic department's capital campaign, among other things - the regents were told other universities had shown interest in hiring him.

Tennessee, for one, had an intermediary inquire about Byrne's interest in July.

On Thursday, regent Ernest Calderon thanked Sander for being proactive in keeping Byrne and bringing stability to the department. There was no further public discussion.

Byrne's contractual academic bonuses - two weeks' pay for both male and female athletes finishing above the general student population - were tweaked.

They will now be measured on grade-point average, not the NCAA's Graduation Success Rate, as part of a department-wide move.

"The people have been incredible to us - we love Tucson," Byrne said.

"We have a tremendous opportunity to get us to a top 10 institution, from an athletic and academic standpoint."

Star reporter Becky Pallack contributed to this report

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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