Allen Greene will "step away" from his role as Auburn athletic director, it was announced Friday.
The decision was announced after the two sides negotiated terms of Greene's departure earlier in the day, sources told ESPN.
"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 released by the school. "I am very proud of the work that we have done together to move our athletics program forward.
"... I wish Auburn nothing but the best in the years ahead. I'm confident we leave Auburn athletics stronger than when we arrived."
Greene was entering the final five months of his contract, which is a rarity among athletic directors at major conference schools. Greene had asked Auburn for clarity about his future with his deal expiring in January, sources told ESPN, and he was told that Auburn was likely to wait until the end of football season to make a decision.
That led to Greene finding an exit strategy, sources told ESPN.
Greene was hired from Buffalo in January 2018 by Auburn, becoming the school's first Black athletic director. During Greene's tenure, Auburn reached two College World Series in baseball and a Final Four in men's basketball, and had significant growth in capital projects and facilities. Auburn is in the midst of building a $92 million football facility, which is slated to open later this year.
Issues in the football program have lingered, however. The school fired coach Gus Malzahn in December 2020 and struggled to find a replacement, in part because of Auburn's reputation for administrative dysfunction.
Greene led the search that yielded coach Bryan Harsin, whose tenure has been shrouded by an "inquiry" by the university. That inquiry has since become viewed as the school fishing for a reason to fire Harsin for cause. Nothing was found, but Harsin has spent months fighting Auburn's self-inflicted damage from the inquiry.
Harsin is widely viewed as coaching for his job this season, and it was widely viewed as unlikely that Greene would be unlikely to be the athletic director to determine his fate.
"Allen arrived on The Plains with vision, passion and experience to elevate Auburn athletics to the next level," university president Dr. Christopher Roberts said in a statement. "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. We're grateful for his commitment and contributions to Auburn over the past four and a half years."
Greene is a former Notre Dame baseball player who developed a strong reputation in the athletics industry as he worked his way up the college athletics ladder as an assistant AD at Ole Miss to Buffalo, where he was a deputy and then the athletic director, before arriving at Auburn in 2018.