The University of Arizona has officially started a national search to find a replacement for Greg Byrne as the Arizona Wildcats’ athletic director.
One person near the top of the list will be TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte, who once worked at Arizona.
To replace Byrne, Arizona should take a long look at alum Mark Harlan, currently running USF, and Chris Del Conte (TCU), who worked for UA— Jon Wilner (@wilnerhotline) January 16, 2017
Del Conte worked at Arizona from 2000-06 as the senior associate athletics director for external operations and sports programs. According to his TCU bio, Del Conte had responsibility for the planning, management and oversight of the day-to-day operation for the department of intercollegiate athletics. He also functioned as the chief financial officer; managed external operations; had oversight and management of all contracts, ticket sales, broadcast rights fees, corporate sponsorships, and trademarks and licensing; and oversight of all facility construction.
He took over as TCU’s athletic director in October of 2009. In that time, TCU has made the jump to the Big 12 Conference, opened a new football stadium, and had a $72 million renovation done to their basketball arena.
According to TCU, the three biggest financial gift years in their history have all occurred since 2013, with the 2016 fiscal year setting a new record for donations within the ‘Frog Club’.
In between his tenures at Arizona and TCU, Del Conte was the A.D. at Rice for three and a half years. While at Rice, he oversaw major improvements to the school’s baseball and basketball facilities.
According to these TCU financial numbers published by Frogs O’ War, Del Conte’s base pay in 2014 was $552,880. For reference, Greg Byrne was making a reported $600,000 at Arizona.
Del Conte would obviously bring a lot of experience and success to Arizona’s A.D. office, but in my opinion, this would be a pretty lateral move for him. TCU has established itself in football and baseball, and with the hiring of Jamie Dixon as the basketball coach this year, the Horned Frogs have already experienced a major turnaround.
Convincing him to leave a job that he’s had for seven years — and one that he’s revitalized the school in every major facet — could be difficult for Arizona, but still worth giving him a call and at least gauging his interest level.