Byrne Out: A&M Athletic Director Stepping Down

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Texas A&M Athletic Director Bill Byrne will step down Tuesday at a 12:30 p.m. press conference.

Byrne has been the A.D. since December 2002. He will become a special assistant to A&M President R. Bowen Loftin, but only until September 1, at which point, he will no longer be employed by A&M.

Senior Associate Athletic Director John Thornton will become the interim A.D. as the search for Byrne's replacement begins.

Friday, Loftin was given the authority to negotiate terms of employment for Byrne, whose current contract was due to expire August 31, 2013.

Despite the rumor mill running that time was running out on Byrne's tenure, Byrne helped lead meetings with SEC officials Monday after returning to campus from a trip.

Later in the afternoon, Byrne informed Aggie Athletics staff, coaches and players on hand at the Bright Complex of his decision in a regularly scheduled meeting. According to a person in that gathering, it apparently had been on the calendar for a couple weeks, a regular get-together for staff, coaches and players to update them on what's happening in the athletic department.

The source described it as an "emotional" announcement, one that some in the room seemed genuinely surprised by. Byrne thanked all those at Aggie Athletics for the time and work they've put in, but did not talk about his short-term role at A&M or his plans after September 1.

Thornton was present at the meeting, but only Byrne spoke, his talk ending with a big round of applause from the Aggie family.

Loftin is in Qatar at the A&M campus there, but will address the media in a conference call at 2:30 p.m. CT Tuesday.