AUBURN, Ala. (AP) Auburn athletic director Allen Greene is stepping down with five months left on his initial five-year deal.
Auburn announced Friday that Greene, the school's first Black athletic director, had informed President Christopher Roberts of his decision this week, citing professional reasons.
''The decision to step away from Auburn athletics is not an easy one, but it is the right time for me to begin the next step in my professional journey,'' Greene said in a statement. ''I am very proud of the work that we have done together to move our athletics program forward.''
Roberts named the athletic department's chief operating officer, Marcy Girton, as acting AD.
''Allen arrived on The Plains with vision, passion and experience to elevate Auburn athletics to the next level,'' Roberts said. ''In the brief time that I have worked alongside Allen as president, he has proven to be an asset to Auburn, enhancing our athletics programs and facilities, and has been dedicated to our student-athletes, to integrity and to our University.''
Greene's initial five-year deal, worth $625,000 annually, was set to expire Jan. 31, 2023. His biggest hire was luring football coach Bryan Harsin away from Boise State.
The Tigers lost the last five games of Harsin's debut season, followed by a school investigation into the program after an exodus of players and assistant coaches, including three coordinators.
The investigation ended with then-President Jay Gogue decrying unspecified ''wild speculation'' and misinformation surrounding Harsin.
At least one Southeastern Conference athletic director and a former college AD chimed in supporting Greene and sharply criticizing Auburn.
Tennessee athletic director Danny White congratulated Greene in a Tweet ''for getting the heck out of a crazy situaton for greener pastures! I admire how you managed that chaos with class & integrity. Look forward to seeing your next chapter.''
Former Notre Dame and Duke AD Kevin White, Danny White's father, called Greene's announcement ''terribly disturbing to say the very least, perhaps closer to utterly shameful'' in a statement to The News & Observer in Raleigh. ''Allen is clearly a rock star leader within the broader college athletics landscape,'' White said. ''Therefore, this is clearly a death blow moment, as the greater enterprise of college athletics swirls via unprecedented chaos.''
Allen, a former Notre Dame baseball player, has worked with both of the Whites.
Auburn made its first Final Four in men's basketball during Greene's tenure, and he signed coach Bruce Pearl to a new eight-year deal worth more than $50 million.
Greene is a former athletic director at Buffalo, where he succeeded Danny White.
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