Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart may not be interested in succeeding Mal Moore at Alabama, but someone else with similar ties is.
A release from Alabama Monday morning stated that former Alabama player and Tennessee head coach Bill Battle has been recommended for the vacant AD spot. Barring a sudden change, Battle will accept the job.
“Over the past several weeks, we have had multiple conversations about who should follow Coach Moore as AD,” UA president Judy Bonner said in the release. “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 school’s Board of Trustees will meet Friday morning to vote on the recommendation. Along with Bonner’s vote, Battle, 71, had Moore’s recommendation as well.
Following his coaching career with the Vols, Battle went on to found Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) in 1981 and acted as its president and CEO until 2002.
“It is with extremely mixed emotions that I am involved in this process,” Battle said in a statement statement. “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. 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.”
Alabama obviously knew what it wanted in a new AD: someone with experience and ties to the program, though Battle’s more recent experience includes a lot more business and less athletics.
In addition to his new position as special assistant to Bonner, Moore has been recommended to receive Athletics Director Emeritus status.