April 23, 2010 2:48:00 PM
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State University announced Friday its senior associate athletic director Duncan McKenzie will serve as interim athletic director while the school continues its search for a long-term replacement for Greg Byrne.
McKenzie also serves as the athletic department''s chief financial officer and is a former football letterman, having starred for MSU as a tight end from 1974-78. He played in the Sun Bowl his freshman season.
McKenzie''s son, Johnathan, is currently a redshirt freshman defensive end for the Bulldogs.
University president Dr. Mark Keenum said via press release that McKenzie will handle day-to-day operations until a new AD is in place.
"Duncan is a Bulldog through and through, having been a student athlete at MSU as well as serving 22 years as an administrator in our athletic department," Keenum''s statement read. "I have the utmost confidence in his ability to provide continuity and manage the wide-ranging issues that must be addressed on a daily basis."
McKenzie said he was "flattered and appreciative" by Keenum''s decision and feels confident his duties as CFO and interim AD won''t create a strain with a strong staff around him.
"We have an executive staff that Greg (Byrne) really empowered to do their jobs," McKenzie said. "I''ll be working closely with that group to make sure our day to day operations, and anything we might have to take to Dr. Keenum, are taken care of.
"We''ve been in a little bit of limbo with Greg on his way out, and we needed someone to make the decisions."
McKenzie couldn''t comment on State''s current search for Byrne''s long-term replacement, and Keenum didn''t specify when MSU and Parker Executive Search firm would complete the search.
However, Keenum said the process to find a new AD "is still on track for early May," though he added the new AD might not arrive until after that time frame because of uncertainty of when the new hire would be able to start in Starkville.
Byrne''s last day at MSU before he departs to take over at the University of Arizona is April 30.
"Duncan''s experience will be invaluable during this transition period. I appreciate his willingness to step into this role," Keenum said.