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Reflecting on the Legacy of Alabama Athletic Director Mal Moore

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Reflecting on the Legacy of Alabama Athletic Director Mal Moore
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Mal Moore (left) with Alabama head coach Nick Saban

College athletics lost a legend last week.

Mal Moore, Director of Athletics at the University of Alabama from 1999-2013, passed away on Saturday at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. according to a release from the university. Moore had been hospitalized for three weeks due to a pulmonary condition.

Moore wasn't just an administrator, he was a legend. He was Tuscaloosa. He was the University of Alabama. 

Known as "Coach Moore" by some, Moore's first mark on the Alabama athletic department came as a football player under legendary head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant from 1958-62 where he was a member of the 1961 national championship team as a quarterback. 

He then moved to the sideline, becoming a coach on Bryant's staff. From 1964-82 Moore served in various capacities within the coaching staff including as a graduate assistant (1964), defensive back coach (1965-70), quarterbacks coach (1971-74) and offensive coordinator (1975-82, 1990-93).

Moore was most recently known as the leader of the athletic department, but his knowledge of football as a player and a coach was unmatched. Not only was he associated with Bryant from his playing days, but he was one of the closest ties remaining to Bryant's legendary staff.

In the video below, Moore recalls a funny moment coaching with Bryant against the Houston Cougars.

Mal Moore discussing Bear Bryant

During his time on the Alabama coaching staff, Moore was a part of six national championship coaching staffs. Simply put, he was a legend for the University of Alabama before he was named director of athletics.

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
Former Alabama AD Mal Moore

When he was named to his post in 1999, his legend grew.

Under his watch, he led the athletics department to previously unattainable heights. 

The department's budget grew from $36 million in 1999 to more than $100 million in 2012, according to AL.com. He oversaw more than $240 million worth of capital improvements to athletic facilities during his tenure as AD, including the renovation and expansion of Bryant-Denny Stadium from a capacity of 83,818 to 101,821, according to the university.

He guided Alabama through the rocky waters of the early 2000s, was instrumental in the hiring of head football coach Nick Saban prior to the 2007 season and the rest is history.

Under his leadership Alabama won three BCS National Championships in football (2009, '11 and '12) and national championships in gymnastics, softball and women's golf. He was elected to the State of Alabama Hall of Fame in 2011 for his work as a coach and administrator.

More important than any success as an administrator, Moore will be remembered as a great man. The Caring Days program for adults with Alzheimer's and other memory disorders was renamed the Mal and Charlotte Moore Center in honor of Mal and his late wife Charlotte. 

USA TODAY Sports
Mal Moore (left) with Nick Saban following the 2012 SEC Championship Game

According to AL.com, Charlotte was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 1993. Moore resigned from then-head coach Gene Stallings' staff to spend more time with his wife. As he worked his way up through the ranks of the athletic department, he continued to spend time with Charlotte—even when she moved into a nursing home in Tuscaloosa.

Charlotte passed away in 2010, 17 years after being diagnosed. Mal was with her the entire way.

Saban commented on Moore in a statement released by the University.

Mal was truly a special person in every sense of the word. We can talk about all the championships Mal has been involved with, but I think what will be remembered most was the man he was. He always put the best interests of others ahead of his own, he carried himself as a first-class gentleman, and he helped bring out the best in those around him.

Moore wasn't always in the forefront, but make no mistake, he was the guiding force behind Alabama's success as a football program and an athletic department. He has left an indelible mark on the University of Alabama, and his legacy in Tuscaloosa will be felt forever.

 

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