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Q&A with Greg Byrne at the Arizona-Alabama game

The Alabama athletic director answered some questions in his return to Tucson

NCAA Football: Fresno State at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Byrne returned to Tucson on Saturday to watch his new employer, the Alabama Crimson Tide, fall 88-82 to his previous employer, the Arizona Wildcats, in McKale Center.

Before the game, Byrne chatted with a few members of the media for a couple minutes.

Here is what the current Alabama athletic director/former Arizona AD had to say.

Q. What’s it like being back at Arizona?

GB: “Our boys Nick and Davis are still here in school in Arizona. We actually still own a house here. Hopefully not much longer. So Regina has been back several times and we actually came out here during the bye week for football and kind of laid low. Tucson is a great place and we obviously have a lot of great friends here and wonderful memories.”

Q. In your first year, what has been the biggest difference between Arizona and Alabama?

GB: “The first year, you’re kind of drinking out of a firehouse. We have about 100 more employees at Alabama with only one more sport. The Southeast Conference, the Pac-12 is a really good league, the SEC is a very special place. And I had experience there in the past. I feel very fortunate to be there and be a part of it. … I'm certainly more comfortable than I was nine months ago and hopefully nine months from now I’ll feel even better.”

Q. Do you still keep an eye on the Arizona football program and what did you think about the success Khalil Tate had?

GB: “I was thrilled to see Khalil continue to develop. I obviously got know Khalil when I was still here last year, his freshman year, and he’s a really good young man. I’m excited to see the success there. One of the things about the central time zone is I get home from games and I can watch Arizona kick off. I bet you I watched nine or 10 of their games, even on some of our road trips where we got home (late). Pac-12 after dark, there’s a benefit. A couple nights it was so hard to stay awake because it was so dang late. It was good.”

Q. What do you think about the job Dave Heeke has done at Arizona so far?

GB: “Dave is awesome. I’ve known Dave forever. He actually used to work for my dad. I think I met Dave when I was a junior or senior in high school. I used to call him Mr. Heeke. Dave’s a visionary. He’s got great integrity, works hard... it was a great hire by Arizona.”

Q. What were the reasons you decided to go to Alabama?

GB: “Well, we had been here almost seven years and I thought we had made a lot of progress and at the same time too, Alabama was one of those places that’s pretty unique in our world. I had been there quite a bit in the past. I knew a lot of people there. ... We had admiration, great fondness of the University of Arizona, eventually we were ready to go give it a try.”

Q. There’s an FBI investigation involving both schools. How do you evaluate it and what was the process like the last couple months?

GB: “Obviously you’re talking about the integrity of the sport. That’s something you have to take very seriously. I’m limited on what I can say, but obviously I know here at Arizona and Alabama as well, we take it very seriously. You have to.”