Alabama announces Mal Moore will be stepping down as Crimson Tide athletic director

Alabama Crimson Tide athletic director Mal Moore and head coach Nick Saban with the national championship coaches trophy during the winning coach press conference at Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa following Alabama's 42-14 win over Notre Dame last night in the 2013 BCS National Championship game. (John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

Alabama Crimson Tide athletic director Mal Moore and head coach Nick Saban with the national championship coaches trophy during the winning coach press conference at Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa following Alabama’s 42-14 win over Notre Dame last night in the 2013 BCS National Championship game. (John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

Longtime University of Alabama athletic director Mal Moore will be stepping down from his position, according to a statement released by the school:

“Mal Moore is Crimson Tide sports,” UA president Judy Bonner said in a university statement.

“During his tenure as athletics director, our student athletes have experienced unprecedented success in every aspect of their careers at UA, on the field of play and in the classroom. His contributions to UA athletics on every level are unsurpassed. And, while he will no longer be in charge of day-to-day operations, I am so pleased that we will continue to be able to rely on his wisdom and expertise going forward.”

Moore, 73, has been hospitalized for more than a week with pulmonary issues. He’s currently at Duke University Medical Center.

“As many of you may know, due to factors related to my health, I am at a point that I can no longer fulfill my duties as athletics director in the true championship manner the position requires,” said Moore. “While I have to focus on my health issue, I look forward to maintaining an ongoing working relationship with this great University as special assistant to Dr. Bonner. I know I can count on each of you to continue your unequaled support for me and The University of Alabama.

“I cannot adequately express what the University means to me. It has been a part of my life for more than 50 years, and I feel honored to have served the Crimson Tide as a player, coach and administrator. I am so appreciative of the University administration, coaches, staff, student-athletes and fans who have made my tenure as director so very meaningful, memorable and special.”

Moore bled Crimson more deeply than most folks outside of Tuscaloosa tend to realize.

Perhaps because it seems like he never left campus. Way back in 1958, Moore began a four-year career as a backup quarterback under legendary coach Bear Bryant. Understanding his role, he developed his mind, soaking in the mental aspect of the game like few before him.

Upon graduation with a degree in Sociology, he jumped immediately into coaching. However, after spending one year out at Montana as an assistant, he returned to the familiar and comfy confines of Bryant-Denny Stadium. He earned a Master’s degree in secondary education while working as a graduate assistant under Bryant.

He remained on the Bama coaching staff in various roles until 1982.

From there, he spent seven years at Notre Dame and in the NFL before returning yet again the his alma mater. He worked as the Tide’s offensive coordinator from 1990-93. In 1994, he accepted a promotion first to assistant athletic director and in 1999 stepped up once again, this time to the full role.

He is responsible for bringing Nick Saban on board following the coach’s disastrous tenure with the Miami Dolphins and has subsequently played a large part in the Tide’s recent run of greatness.

Replacing a Bama lifer on the level of Mal Moore is probably impossible, but no one is worrying about that right now.

Instead, we are celebrating the longstanding Tide career of this true Red Elephant.

Moore helped fund a beautiful, $9.1 million athletic facility