Leading the Nation’s Premier Athletic Department

Greg Byrne
Director of Athletics, The University of Alabama

Leading the Nation’s Premier Athletic Department

It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to sit down with the athletic director of one of the nation’s premier athletic departments. So when you do, you have to take full advantage as there is sure to be no shortage of valuable insight and wisdom from one of the most respected and acclaimed individuals in college athletics.


This week’s guest on The Secrets to Winning is Greg Byrne, the Director of Athletics at The University of Alabama. Throughout his career, Byrne has been consistently more impactful and successful with each step up the administrative ladder.


On the administrative side, I think one of the worst things a new leader can do is to come in and say I have to have my people.


As a fundraiser, he has been directly involved in raising more than $200 million in gifts during his career. As a leader of competitive athletics programs, he has fostered major improvements across the spectrum of sports at both programs he has led prior to being at Alabama (Mississippi State University and University of Arizona). A proponent of developing student-athletes into productive people after college, Byrne has led programs that have attained academic success at levels not reached prior to his tenure.


Throughout our conversation, you will hear Greg speak about serving others as this is what it takes to effectively lead at the highest level. There are all sorts of valuable leadership content including:


  • Communicating your message and expectations very clearly
  • Developing a leadership style and philosophy
  • Valuing all members of your staff because everyone’s role is critical to the overall success of the department
  • Listening to the needs of student-athletes, coaches, and other individuals you serve
  • Utilizing social media to promote the Alabama brand
  • Constantly developing yourself personally and professionally


If you are looking to develop yourself as a leader or looking for better ways to effectively lead your team or organization, you will definitely want to listen to this podcast!



00:33 – Developing a leadership style and philosophy


02:00 – Taking over an athletic department already experiencing tremendous success


03:20 – Integrating into Alabama’s athletic department culture


05:00 – People feel valued and part of the process when their voices have been heard


06:00 – Engaging on social media and willingness to take criticism, but not personally


06:40 – The importance of communicating your expectations


08:15 – How Alabama’s fan base helps separate them from other schools


09:10 – How a coaching search plays out


11:00 – Greg’s strong connection with student-athletes


13:00 – You must value every single member of your staff, regardless of position


14:40 – How does Greg develop Greg, personally and professionally


17:00 – Balancing family life with the long hours that come with the job

If you communicate with people about your expectations and you deliver on those expectations, you have a much better shot of success with the decisions you make.

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