TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Before the formal announcement of his replacement’s hiring, Bill Battle sat down with WIAT CBS 42 for a one-on-one interview to talk about his legacy, why he’s stepping away, and what makes Greg Byrne the right man to take over the director of athletics position at Alabama.
“I thought the University was at a great place, that it was a good time to pass the torch,” Battle said. “When I came four years ago, it was never my goal to become an athletic director, and it’s not an easy job, and it’s an all day, every day job.
“We’ve got a great replacement to come in, and I can help the University, hopefully at a high level, and make a contribution and still do a lot of the things from some of the places I like to go.”
Despite never intending to be an AD, Battle used his own experiences at Alabama as a student to guide him over the last four years. He says he had a great experience during his time as a student, but he wanted to build on that for the current student-athletes at the university.
“I wanted them to have a better experience,” Battle said. “Teach them how to compete for championships and how to do that and teach them how to compete for championships in life after graduation. I tried to impress that on all of our staff to the point of nausea to them that they hear it too much but that’s what we’re here for.”
When news of Battle’s retirement from the position broke Sunday night, rumors of his replacement surfaced simultaneously. Battle says Greg Byrne was the top of many people’s list when Battle mentioned to university president Stuart Bell he was going to step away. Now, Battle is ready to assist Byrne in his transition from Arizona and Battle sees that as his first order of business in his new role, special assistant to the president.
“I’ll do everything in my power to help advise him on whatever he needs advice on,” Battle said. “I hope I can get him into feeling that he’s a part of the family sooner rather than later, and I think I can help him do that.”
To hear all of Coach Battle’s comments, check out the full interview at the top of the page. Be sure to check back to WIAT.com this afternoon for the formal introduction of Byrne as Alabama’s new athletic director.