By LARRY VAUGHT
Greg Byrne was associate athletics director at Kentucky under Mitch Barnhart from 2002-2005 before becoming AD at Mississippi State, then Arizona and now Alabama.
He admits working for Barnhart taught him a lot of lessons.
“Mitch is the best I have ever seen at caring about every young man and every young woman in the athletics department,” Byrne said. “No matter the sport, just the passion he has for them to have success as a team and individual. He is so good at it that you can’t help but notice and want to do the same.”
Byrne has made sure to use what he learned from Barnhart with the coaches who now work for him.
“I tell all our head coaches if I can help, don’t do it to appease me. But if I can help in the recruiting process and meet with any young man or young woman and meet with the family, let me do it,” Byrne said. “I learned that from watching Mitch.”
Byrne said he sees Barnhart at SEC meetings and still talks regularly with him on the phone.
“I owe a lot to Mitch and hold him in high esteem. He’s simply the best,” Byrne said.