Arizona Athletics

Board of Regents approves contract extensions for Byrne, two coaches; sand volleyball boss gets first deal

2013-09-27T00:00:00Z Board of Regents approves contract extensions for Byrne, two coaches; sand volleyball boss gets first dealBy Ryan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The Arizona Board of Regents voted Thursday to approve contract extensions for UA athletic director Greg Byrne, baseball coach Andy Lopez and women’s golf coach Laura Ianello, and Steve Walker — the leader of the Wildcats’ new sand volleyball program — received his first deal as a head coach.

The Board approved all contracts unanimously and without discussion during its meeting in Flagstaff.

Byrne received a two-year extension through 2018 at his current salary of $440,000 per year. The Wildcats’ social media-savvy athletic director could be a hot name to replace retiring or older bosses at other programs; Thursday’s extension, and a $500,000 retention bonus due to Byrne on Sept. 30, 2016, could be a deterrent to schools looking to hire him away.

Lopez, who makes a base salary of $160,000 per year, had his contract extended by one year through 2018. Lopez can make an extra $50,000 per year if he reaches performance bonuses.

Walker, a former UA volleyball assistant who was tabbed to run the sand volleyball program this year, will make $70,000 per year as part of a deal that runs through 2016.

Ianello received a raise of $6,041, bringing her base salary to $75,000 per year. Her new contract runs through 2016.

Byrne said Thursday that he appreciated the support of UA president Ann Weaver Hart and the board of regents.

“I think we’ve got a great group of coaches, student-athletes and staff, and I think we’re collectively moving our program forward to have sustained and long-term success,” he said.

Ianello, the golf coach, “has done a great job of continuing our wonderful tradition of success in women’s golf,” Byrne said.

“We want her to be our coach for a long time,” he said.

The sand volleyball program is “certainly exciting,” Byrne said.

Lopez, who won a College World Series championship in 2012, ranks among the UA’s longest-tenured and most popular coaches.

“I love Andy Lopez,”

Byrne said. “If I could have my son play college baseball for any coach in the country, it would be him. … This is the way of showing the belief and support we have in him.”

Contact sports editor Ryan Finley at or 573-4312. On Twitter @Ryan_Finley.

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