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Erika Hanson Barnes named interim Arizona athletic director

University of Arizona president Ann Weaver Hart announced that senior associate director Erika Hanson Barnes has been named interim director and vice president of athletics.

Barnes’ appointment comes after current director and vice president of athletics Greg Byrne accepted a position with the University of Alabama as its new director of athletics.

Byrne will begin his new job on March 1, at which time Barnes will hold the interim status until a national search is completed.

“Greg Byrne has been a strong leader and positive force for Arizona Athletics bringing energy and vision to his role. Greg lifted University of Arizona Athletics to a higher level and I wish him well at the University of Alabama,” Hart said in a press release. “Our Arizona Athletics teams continue to be positioned for successful competition and academic achievement, and I am excited and confident about the future of Arizona Athletics.”

Byrne has been athletic director at Arizona since 2010 and oversaw major stadium renovations to both Arizona Stadium and McKale Center as well as helping the Wildcats field nationally competitive programs in all sports.

His use of social media helped connect him and the athletic department to Wildcat fans which also enhanced the fan experience at games. He also emphasized the need to increase academic success among student athletes, which resulted in Arizona athletics producing its best academic semester last fall.

“The last nearly seven years has been a wonderful experience for me and my entire family,” Byrne said in a press release. “We truly appreciate President Hart, our student-athletes, coaches, staff and friends. Because of the unbelievable support of all those who make up the Arizona Family, Tucson and the University of Arizona will always hold a special place in our hearts.”

Barnes has been with the university since 2005 where some of her duties have included operational oversight of the Wildcats’ 20 varsity sports while serving as sports supervisor for 15 programs. Besides her administrative duties, Barnes has been actively engaged in securing major gifts for the department’s fundraising arm, the Wildcat Club and played a major role in fundraising in five major capital campaign projects totaling more than $145 million.

She is a 2001 graduate from Arizona with a degree in communications and was a member of the 2001 softball national championship team. In 2010 she earned her masters degree in business administration from UA’s Eller College of Management.

 


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