It's possible nobody had a more diverse experience with the great Alabama football program than Mal Moore.
Moore was a player for Paul "Bear" Bryant from 1958-62. He spent 22 of his 31 years in coaching at Alabama. Then he was Alabama's athletic director from 1999 until this year, when he had to step down for health reasons. He is a major reason the Crimson Tide football program is as strong as it is today. Moore is the only person to be a part of 10 Alabama national football championships.
"Mal Moore is Crimson Tide sports," Alabama president Judy Bonner said in a statement on March 20, when Moore stepped down as AD.
Moore passed away Saturday morning according to Cecil Hurt, a columnist for TideSports.com.
Mal Moore, long-time University of Alabama athletics director, died this morning in Durham, N.C., at the age of 73.
— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) March 30, 2013
His legacy will live on, not just in the football building that is called the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility, but in the foundation he set for Alabama athletics.
Alabama's athletic department as a whole has been upgraded, but no sport has grown more than football. Moore hired Nick Saban, getting him from the Miami Dolphins. That was a coup that changed the landscape of college football. Moore also was instrumental in raising the money to upgrade the football facilities. Alabama has won three of the last four national titles.
“The fact is, we had fallen behind in just about every area,” Moore said last year, according to the Tuscaloosa News. “That was what we had to address first, to bring our facilities up to par so we could give our coaches a chance to be competitive. That included football, because that is such an important part of the financial health of our department. But we (want) to make the same commitment to all our programs. I used to be a coach. I know what coaches need in order to win. I like to think that if I have a strength as an athletic director, that is it. It is one of the lessons I learned from Coach Bryant. You have to hire good people, give them what they need and let them do their job.”
There are many legendary figures associated with Alabama football. Mal Moore has a well-earned place among those legends.
"Coach Moore is somebody that I have a tremendous amount of respect for," Saban said in a statement when Moore stepped down as AD. "First, for giving us the opportunity to come to the University of Alabama and the great job he did on selling us on this University and what could be done here. Then, all of the support he has given to our program. He certainly deserves a tremendous amount of credit for the success we have had because of the way he sets the table and serves us so well. Most things that you would see, he has had some hand in making all of the athletic facilities what they are, first class in so many ways. More than that, he is a class gentleman, probably as fine as you are ever going to meet. He has been a great friend and his support has certainly been appreciated . . . He has been a part of a lot of championships and a lot of championship teams in this department as a coach was well as an athletic director."
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