A statement from the University of Alabama, circultated to the media and the entire student body, announced that President Judy Bonner will nominate Bill Battle to replace Mal Moore as the Athletic Director. The Board of Trustees will meet Friday morning at 10 to discuss the nomination.
Battle, 71 (two years younger than Moore), played under Paul W. “Bear” Bryant as a teammate of Moore’s from 1960-1962. Battle went on to coach at Army before a 11-year stint with the Tennessee Volunteers, seven of which saw Battle as the head coach. Battle led Tennessee to a 59-22-2 record.
“Over the past several weeks, we have had multiple conversations about who should follow Coach Moore as AD,” Bonner said. “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. 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.”
The Birmingham native founded The Collegiate Licensing Company, which legally produces memorabilia such as t-shirts and hats for over 200 American universities, also working for conferences and bowls. Battle also serves as a member of the Harris Interactive Poll, whose votes count for a third of the BCS formula.
“When it became apparent that I was no longer going to be able to direct the Athletics Department, I felt that Bill Battle was the one person who could sustain all the good things that have happened the past few years while also moving us forward with planned improvements,” Moore said. 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.
“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.”
Battle said in the statement that accepting the invitation was difficult for him.
““It is with extremely mixed emotions that I am involved in this process,” said Battle. “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, Dr. 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.
“The University of Alabama is at an all-time high in athletics, academics and most every other way, and I am deeply honored to be asked to serve in the position of Athletics Director,” Battle said. “It is an extraordinary challenge and a responsibility that I take very seriously. I will do my dead-level best to continue the successes on and off the playing fields that Alabama fans have enjoyed over the past few years. I look forward to working with the great coaches, student athletes and administrative staff at the University to continue the momentum they have created.”