By The Associated Press
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Former Alabama athletic director Mal Moore, who played and coached under Bear Bryant and hired Nick Saban as football coach, has passed away.
The university said the 73-year-old Moore died on Saturday at Duke University Medical Center. Moore had been in the Durham, N.C., hospital since March 13 with pulmonary problems.
No further details were immediately available.
The folksy, silver-haired Moore was part of 10 football national championship teams as a player, coach or administrator in a career intertwined with three of the Crimson Tide’s most revered coaches – his old bosses Bryant and Gene Stallings and Saban, who has won three of the last four national titles.
He played for Bryant’s 1961 national championship team, and Bill Battle – a teammate of Moore’s – was hired to replace him two days after Moore stepped down on March 20. He was to become a special adviser to Alabama President Judy Bonner.
Moore oversaw an athletic department since 1999 that made more than $200 million in facilities improvements – including multiple expansions of Bryant-Denny Stadium and won national championships in football, gymnastics, softball and women’s golf in 2011-12.
The football building and his own memorabilia-covered office are housed in the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility, named after him in 2007.
Moore’s biggest claims to fame are the hiring of Saban and his long relationship with Bryant, whom he had hoped to succeed.
Moore was a freshman on Bryant’s first Alabama team in 1958 then spent 22 seasons as a coach, including a stint with Stallings for the NFL’s Cardinals in St. Louis and Phoenix.
He joined Bryant as a graduate assistant in 1964 and coached both the secondary and quarterbacks before becoming the Tide’s first offensive coordinator in 1975. He was also Stallings’ offensive coordinator from 1990-93 in a tenure that included the 1992 national championship.
He interviewed to take over the program after Bryant retired in 1982 but was passed over in favor of New York Giants coach Ray Perkins. That left Moore thinking about getting out of the profession before Notre Dame’s Gerry Faust hired him to coach running backs.
“At the time, I kind of felt like a man without a country,” Moore said in a December 2012 interview ahead of the BCS championship game with the Fighting Irish. “I was in a strange position that I’d never been in before.”
His wife of 41 years, the former Charlotte Davis, passed away after a long illness in 2010. His daughter, Heather Cook, lives in Scottsdale, Ariz.