MSU Donor Jim Rouse Talks About Greg Byrne

I've talked to a cross section of people who play major parts in an athletics department about their experiences with new MSU AD Greg Byrne. Yesterday, Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart talked about Greg. Today, MSU capital gifts donor Jim Rouse, who donated the money for the MSU weight room, gives his thoughts about Greg.

What are your thoughts about Greg Byrne being named MSU's new Athletics Director?
"I've told several people, after it was announced that Larry was leaving and we were in the search, that Greg Byrne was going to be an Athletics Director at a major university. The question is will we get him or will it be someone else. There is no question in my mind that that young man was going to be an Athletic Director at a major university."

What impressed you about him?
"I guess there are two or three things I really like about him. I think he is very straight forward and tells it like it is. I think he has a lot of really good innovative ideas that will help us move up in our fundraising. Through his family ties with his dad and his experience at Oregon State and Kentucky, he has a broad look at some innovative ideas in how to raise money. Greg is going to bring some new ideas, new visions, and new approaches to problems that will be really, really helpful.

"I also think Greg is very personable. He moves well in circles where there are heavy duty givers and the average givers. That is very important. I think Doc's quote about wanting an AD that can inspire the big Dogs as well as the little Dogs is spot on. I think Greg is the kind who will be able to do that."

Some folks question his youth because he's only 36. What are your thoughts about that?
"I kind of like his youth. It's not a negative. During my 42 years of experience with Exxon, when you get someone that is young and full of fit and vinegar and has a lot of ideas and can work like a dog, that is a good thing. It's inspirational to be around people like that."

While he's young, he's actually built a wealth of experience in BCS schools such as Oregon, Oregon State, Kentucky and Mississippi State.
"That was what I was thinking when I said he was going to be an Athletics Director at a major university. It was tied to my thinking because he has been exposed to Division-I sports administration since he was a teenager."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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