IRVINE, Calif. (Jan. 26, 2017) – Spectra Ticketing & Fan Engagement, the leader in live entertainment ticketing, marketing, fundraising and analytics solutions, today announced that newly-appointed University of Alabama Athletic Director Greg Byrne and University of Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin will present the College Athletics keynote address at its annual PACnet community conference. The conference will be held Feb. 12-15, 2017 at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa in Newport Beach, Calif.
Byrne will officially move into the athletic director position for the Crimson Tide on March 1, replacing the retiring Bill Battle. Alabama announced the selection of Byrne on Jan. 16 with his first duties beginning in a press conference three days later. Byrne joins Alabama Athletics from the University of Arizona, where began his tenure the 11th Director of Athletics in May 2010. He took over a multimillion-dollar sports expansion project, including completing construction on the $72-million Lowell-Stevens Football Facility, two video boards in Arizona Stadium, and a new scoreboard and renovations in the McKale Center. His 2011 plan to relocate the Arizona baseball program to a minor league ballpark led to attendance numbers nearly tripling in the first two years. In 2012, the Wildcats hosted NCAA regional and super regional tournaments for the first time in two decades, and then went on to win the 2012 College World Series for Byrne’s first championship as athletic director.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to address the Spectra community at PACnet,” said Byrne. “At the University of Arizona, our goals and principles helped us mold an organization that strived for excellence. There are exciting times ahead at Alabama, and I am grateful to be back in the SEC. I look forward to sharing my experiences and insights with PACnet attendees, while reconnecting with my colleagues.”
Before his time in Arizona, Byrne was the youngest athletic director in the Southeastern Conference during his tenure at Mississippi State University. Byrne began his career in 2006 as associate athletic director for external affairs at MSU. He had 15 years of professional experience before assuming an athletic director position, working his way up with professional and personal achievements along the way. Byrne also has athletics fundraising experience, having helped raise more than $200 million in gifts.
Stricklin joined the University of Florida in November 2016, having previously served as the director of athletics at Mississippi State University (a position formerly held by Byrne). His 28-plus years of experience in intercollegiate athletics includes about 23 years in the Southeastern Conference. During his time at MSU, Stricklin oversaw record fundraising for Bulldog Athletics and helmed facility improvements of more than $140 million, including updated facilities at the Mize Pavillion and Humphrey Coliseum, the Leo W. Seal Jr. Football Complex, and Davis Wade Stadium, among others.
“It’s an honor to be asked to speak at PACnet and share my journey with the Spectra community,” said Stricklin. “I’m looking forward to making an impact in my new position with the Gators. Joining together with Greg and our associates will be a great way to start the year.”
The program at MSU saw record success on the field during Stricklin’s tenure, including MSU football going to six straight bowl games and the women’s basketball team advancing to its second Sweet 16 in the program’s history. Attendance grew as a result, with football season ticket sales reaching more than 50,000 for the first time and total attendance records set for both the football and women’s basketball programs. His career began at MSU in media relations in 1990, and advanced with stops at Auburn University, Tulane University, Baylor University, and University of Kentucky before heading back to MSU, with his reputation and experience making him the ideal candidate for the top spot at University of Florida. He currently serves as the chair of the SEC’s working group on fan experience, a position he has held since 2013.
“Greg has experienced a unique journey throughout his career, literally growing up in the industry having watched his dad Bill Byrne work as an athletic director. It’s been exhilarating to follow Scott’s recent appointment and successes at MSU and Arizona,” said Spectra Ticketing & Fan Engagement CEO Dave Butler. “Having Greg and Scott share a stage is such an honor for us. Their combined knowledge of the industry will provide an inspiring perspective for the PACnet ’17 community.”