The University of Alabama announced today that longtime athletics director Mal Moore will step down (h/t Montgomery Advertiser) after what has become a constant battle with health.
Moore had this to say about his departure:
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. 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.
So where does that leave this booming athletics department? As the newness of the departure wears off, a number of candidates will begin to emerge and these are three names that should enter the mix.
Shane Lyons: Alabama Deputy Director of Athletics, COO
Shane Lyons is a former associate commissioner for the ACC that was hired into the Alabama athletics department in October of 2011 by Mal Moore.
Lyons was hired on to help coordinate the day-to-day operations of the athletics department and to help guide the administrative team with Moore (Alabama Athletics). He had previously worked with the ACC and Texas Tech during his 25 years in collegiate athletics administration.
The hire had the looks of a preemptive plan for replacement in October, and it appears to be heading in that direction.
Bringing in an outside hire is always a possibility, but when you have an in-house player that knows the landscape and has run the department for a full year as Lyons has done, the choice appears to be obvious.
Jeremy Foley: Florida Athletics Director
Jeremy Foley is one of the best athletic directors in the college game. He has been with the Florida athletics department for years and has been a part of a number of winning traditions since taking over the department.
The Gators have won two football national titles and two basketball national titles during his tenure, and nearly every major sport has found a consistent level of success in Gainesville under his leadership.
He has sole rein of the $96 million empire (Florida Athletics) that is Florida athletics, making him a major power broker in the college game.
It would take a large chunk of change to pull Foley from Florida, but if there is a school that could do it, it would be Alabama.
Dave Hart, Tennessee Vice Chancellor, Director of Athletics
Dave Hart is one of the fastest-rising names in the search for Alabama’s next athletic director.
Hart was previously with the Tide athletics department, where he served as the executive director of athletics, providing the Crimson Tide administration with a tie to the school as it looks for a replacement for Moore.
He also served Florida State as the director of athletics from 1995-2007 and was on numerous committees inside the ACC during his tenure with the Seminoles (Tennessee Athletics).
The Tennessee Volunteers hired Hart away from Alabama in 2011, and he is currently serving as the Tennessee director of athletics.
Hart would be a natural pick for the Tide.