Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne retires

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Texas A&M athletic director Bill Byrne has retired.

A&M won 45 Big 12 championships in 13 different sports under the 66-year-old Byrne. But his legacy will be tied to the school's move from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference, starting in July.

Byrne took criticism as it became clear the Aggies would leave and end longtime rivalries, notably the annual football game against Texas that was a deep-rooted tradition in the state.

Byrne's contract was to expire in August 2013. He will become a special adviser to A&M President R. Bowen Loftin.

Byrne joined A&M after serving as the AD at Nebraska from 1992 to 2002. He was hired by Robert Gates, the former university president and former U.S. defense secretary.