According to AL.com, Alabama president Judy Bonner is already primed to announce a replacement for Mal Moore as the Crimson Tide’s athletic director. Moore, who won 10 championships as a player, assistant coach and then athletic director in Tuscaloosa, announced his retirement on Wednesday to focus on his health.
While several names had been suggested following the news, Bonner has endorsed Bill Battle as the replacement for Moore and the board of trustees will vote on the decision on Friday morning.
“Based on Mal’s strong endorsement, as well as Coach Battle’s affiliation with UA as a player, partner and donor, his experience as a coach and his significant business background, I am confident that he is the right person to serve UA in this position,” Bonner said in her statement. “I am looking forward to working with him as we continue to build on the foundation of excellence that is the hallmark of Coach Moore’s tenure.”
Battle played alongside Moore in the 1960s under legendary coach Bear Bryant. After that, he spent several years as an assistant prior to taking over the head coaching duties at the University of Tennessee. He entered the private sector in 1976 after posting a record of 59-22-2. Since then, he founded the Collegiate Licensing Committee in 1981 and actually signed Alabama as its first client.
When approached regarding the position, Mr. Battle was apprehensive at first, but quickly grew into the idea.
“It is with extremely mixed emotions that I am involved in this process,” Battle said in the statement. “My strong preference is that my teammate and longtime friend Mal Moore would be announcing another amazing accomplishment. When the University reached out to me, my instinct was to say no. However, after speaking with Dr. Bonner, [Alabama systems chancellor] Dr. [Robert] Witt, Coach Saban, Mal and Paul Bryant, and seeing what I’ve seen at the University, I couldn’t find a way to say no.”
For that last three decades, Battle has been a businessman, with very little to do with the day-to-day running of collegiate athletics. However, the game is changing. The SEC is launching its own network in 2014, and the concept of paying players is one that is picking up real steam.
Thus, Mal Moore himself believes Battle’s diverse resume will prove far more beneficial than one might assume.
“Certainly, his background at the University as a student-athlete coupled with a career as coach and his creativity and unparalleled success at Collegiate Licensing gives him an extensive background to lead the Crimson Tide Athletics Department,” Moore said in the statement. “I personally recommended Bill to Dr. Bonner for this job knowing he will appropriately support our coaches in their efforts to bring championship teams home to Tuscaloosa and ensure that our student-athletes earn their degrees and represent the Crimson Tide in the same manner that Bill did as a player and as an alumnus.”
If voted in, Battle inherits a football program at its zenith. As one of the most successful and profitable teams the nation has ever seen, the money will continue to come in to fund improvements for every sport the school offers.
It will be Battle’s job to make sure the well-oiled machine continues to run smoothly.