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Byrne leaves behind promising array of coaches for Wildcats

In this Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014 photo, Arizona Vice President for Athletics, Greg Byrne looks on during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Gardner Webb in Tucson, Ariz. Byrne became Arizona's athletic director in 2010 and has led the department to unprecedented heights. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

As University of Arizona Athletic Director Greg Byrne moves on to the same position with University of Alabama, he leaves behind plenty of promising coaching talent to lead the Wildcats.

Byrne, who has been with the Wildcats since 2010, will take over the position vacated with Bill Battle stepping down.

UA Senior Associate Director Erika Hanson Barnes will take over in the interim.

Although Byrne does not leave the program with a coach as renowned as Nick Saban, the football coach at his new school, the 45-year-old leaves Arizona stocked with bright coaching talent in multiple sports.

The average age of the 10 coaches hired during Byrne’s time at Arizona who are still with the school is a relatively young 41.6 years, with seven coaches under 40.

Here we will look at how Byrne’s coaching hires from his six years as Athletic Director have fared so far:

• Women’s golf coach Laura Ianello (hired in May 2010) has her team ranked No. 20 in the NCAA this year and won the Pac-12 title last season.

• Football coach Rich Rodriguez (November 2011) looked to have turned the team around by posting a 33-20 record since taking over in 2012 before a 3-9 campaign last season.

• Men’s golf coach Jim Anderson (June 2012) had his best season in 2013-14 by leading two Wildcats to the NCAA San Antonio Regional.

• Soccer coach Tony Amato (December 2012) is 43-30-9 since taking over the team.

• Beach volleyball coach Steve Walker (January 2013) last season won Pac-12 Coach of the Year last season after finishing No. 6 in the country.

• Swimming and diving coach Rick DeMont (February 2014) currently has his men’s team 11th in the NCAA and his women’s team 10th.

• Gymnastics coach Tabitha Yim (May 2015) helped her team to a No. 25 ranking last season in her first year with the team.

• Baseball coach Jay Johnson (June 2015) achieved a 48-22 record and took his team to the College World Series Finals in his first season at Arizona last year.

• Women’s basketball coach Adia Barnes (April 2016) has an 11-6 record in her first season with UA, helping to turn around a program that hasn’t had a winning season since the 2010-11 year.

Byrne also hired former swimming and diving coach Eric Hansen – who, in 2013, resigned for undisclosed reasons – in 2011 as well as men’s tennis coach Clancy Shields – who has yet to coach the team – this year.


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