Battle recommended, approved as Alabama AD - WRBL

Battle recommended, approved as Alabama AD

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Barely 24 hours after Mal Moore announced he was stepping down as University of Alabama athletics director, the school has named his successor.

Bill Battle was recommended for the position by university president Judy Bonner just after 10:00 a.m. EST Thursday morning, and approved the board of trustees later that afternoon.

"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. 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.

"I want to again thank Dr. Bonner, Dr. Witt and the Trustees for their confidence in considering me for this position."

Battle was a three-year starter for the Crimson Tide—with Moore—from 1960-62, and played on the 1961 national championship team. He was an assistant coach at the United States Military Academy while serving a two-year tour in 1964 and 65, then spent four years as an assistant coach at the University of Tennessee.

Battle was named head coach at Tennessee in 1970, and amassed a 59-22-2 overall record in seven years.

"When it became apparent that I was no longer going to be able to direct the Athletics Department," Moore said, "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.

"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.

"Bill is a man of unimpeachable integrity who understands the heritage and tradition of The University of Alabama. He has been a friend of mine since we were teammates and an individual who has always gone beyond the call of duty in helping the Athletics Department during my tenure as its director.

"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 is a member of The University of Alabama All-Decade team of the 1960s, and was a 1981 inductee to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

He will be formally introduced Friday at 11:30 a.m. CST.

Jonathan Huskey

Jonathan comes to News 3 from Fort Smith/Fayetteville, Ark., where he anchored weekends and reported during the week on some of the best high school sports in the state. More>>

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