The news of Mal Moore’s decision to step down as the University of Alabama athletic director sent shock waves through Tuscaloosa, and his announcement may wind up reverberating across the sports world as a whole.
And we are not talking about the swan song of an Alabama legend. That much was never in doubt. As a player, coach and finally AD, Moore had a hand in 10 — 10 — Tide championships.
No, what we are talking about now is whomever may be brought in as Mr. Moore’s replacement. Obviously, in winning three of the last four national championships in football, Moore leaves the program at its zenith, and the department overall is robust. His replacement is going to have to be capable of running a multi-million dollar, highly scrutinized, highly publicized athletic machine. He, or she, must have extensive experience at and touched the very pinnacle of the sporting world, while maintaining some sort of root back on campus.
Sports Illustrated’s Bama Hammer provides several early frontrunners for the role:
- Ozzie Newsome: Current Baltimore Ravens general manager; NFL and College Hall of Famer, Former Alabama All-American wide receiver
- Gene Hallman: President and CEO of Bruno Event Team, which oversees management of Alabama Gameday activities
- Joe Dean Jr.: Current Birmingham-Southern AD, oversaw the school’s transition from D-III up to D-I.
- Sarah Patterson: Six-time national championship gymnastics coach for Alabama
- Dave Hart: Current Tennessee Volunteers AD, former Florida State AD and worked under Moore at Bama
- Phil Savage: Former GM of NFL’s Cleveland Browns; player personnel executive with Philadelphia Eagles; has worked extensively with coach Nick Saban
Of course, the future athletic director could be any one of these names, or none of them. The school may simply wind up promoting one of Moore’s right-hand people, or even selecting someone with no ties to the school at all.
All members of Tide Nation can do is sit back, relax, and watch the interview process unfold.
And all the football team can do is keep practicing and getting ready to defend yet another national title.