While it may come as a surprise to some, the decision for Bill Byrne to retire has actually been in the works for months behind the scenes. That's according to Texas A&M President Dr. R. Bowen Loftin who spoke with KBTX via teleconference Tuesday afternoon. Loftin told NEWS 3 Byrne's retirement is an agreement that the two came to after months of trying to decide what direction the Texas A&M Athletic program would go in the future. The final decision is one that comes with a lot of emotion, not just for Byrne, but for the coaches he directed.
"If we're doing something well why not keep the chief there," said Head Women's Basketball Coach Gary Blair.
Under Byrne, the university's athletics teams earned 45 conference championships in various sports, including women's basketball. Coach Blair is not happy to see his boss go.
"You win in every sport. You're still winning in football. You're not losing in football. You're still winning, but it's not at the level that a few people wanted to," said Blair.
While Byrne is stepping down as AD for the university, it's not a decision that came lightly. Byrne reportedly wanted A&M to stay in the Big 12, but University leaders wanted to move forward, taking the Division One school to the Southeastern Conference.
"Those are decisions that are made above my pay grade. My dad was a solider and my mom was an army nurse, you're taught to salute and carry on. That's what we'll do," said Bill Byrne, Former Athletics Director.
Those who will carry on like Coach Blair, say their concerned about finding Byrne's replacement.
"Whoever we hire it better not be from the good ole boy system. It better be somebody like a Bill Byrne or Billy Gillispie or a Pat Henry. Sometimes you've got to go out of your comfort zone," said Blair.