CLEVELAND - The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) announced today that NACDA Past President and former Texas A&M University Director of Athletics Bill Byrne, has been selected by the NACDA Officers and Executive Committee to be the recipient of the 48th James J. Corbett Memorial Award, the highest honor one can achieve in collegiate athletics administration.
The Corbett Award is presented annually to the collegiate administrator who "through the years has most typified Corbett's devotion to intercollegiate athletics and worked unceasingly for its betterment." Corbett, athletics director at Louisiana State University, was NACDA's first president in 1965. Additionally, Byrne will receive an honorary degree from the Sports Management Institute (SMI), an educational institute sponsored by NACDA and the universities of Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Southern California and Texas.
"I loved being an athletic director because of all the talented people I worked with every day. The athletes brought the vigor of youth and kept me young with their incredible desire to excel and persevere," stated Byrne. "I believe all of us lucky enough to work in this industry have the best jobs in the world. The Corbett Award is a special recognition of the people with whom I had the privilege to work. They are the recipients, and I am the lucky one who gets to hold the trophy we won together. "
During his 10 years at Texas A&M, Byrne led the University's athletic program to unprecedented success on the field and in the classroom. Of the 59 Big 12 Conference Championships won by the Aggies in the league's history, 45 were won after Byrne's arrival, including a record haul of nine championships in the 2010-11 school year. Since the start of the 2006-07 season, Texas A&M's coaches and student-athletes won 37 team Big 12 Championships. No other Big 12 school won more team championships during that span than Texas A&M.
Byrne also made stops at Idaho State, New Mexico, San Diego State and Oregon throughout his career. In 1984, Byrne became one of the youngest Division I athletics directors when he was named the director of athletics at Oregon. Byrne also served as the director of athletics at Nebraska for almost eleven years and finished his career with ten years at the helm of Texas A&M.
During his 29 year career as a Division I athletics director, Byrne's teams amassed 30 national championships in football, track and field, volleyball, women's basketball, golf, gymnastics, equestrian, bowling and cross country. His teams also won 144 conference championships. He was widely regarded as a coach's AD because he exceled at hiring top level coaches and provided them the necessary tools to be successful. One of his many notable accomplishments at Texas A&M was improving the men's and women's basketball programs, which were not competitive on a conference or national basis prior to his hiring.
Byrne's passion is the student-athlete and his emphasis on character, integrity, honesty, and compassion helped develop young people into responsible adults who joined society as exceptional citizens of their communities.
Byrne and his wife, Dr. Marilyn Kent Byrne, have two sons - Bill III and Greg. Bill is a vice president of Visa USA in San Francisco and Greg followed his father's footsteps and is the director of athletics at Arizona.
About NACDA: NACDA, now in its 49th year, is the professional and educational association for more than 6,500 college athletics administrators at more than 1,600 institutions throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. More than 2,200 athletics administrators annually attend the NACDA Convention. Additionally, NACDA administers 13 professional associations, including seven for the separate business units that report directly to the athletics directors. For more information on NACDA, visit www.nacda.com.