Thursday, March 21, 2013

Quotables: Commentary on Mal Moore from around the web

imageMoore’s legacy “will be somewhat (tied to Saban), but there’s so much more than that,” Espy said. “We were going through a down time and (Moore) was able to go out and raise millions of dollars to improve the facilities. Those facilities probably had a lot to do with us being able to land coaches like Saban and (men’s basketball coach Anthony) Grant. He supported Sarah Patterson and the gymnastics program and look what it became. He raised up the entire athletic department and deserves a lot of credit for the success that’s taking place now. I think we won four national championships last year, another football championship this year.”

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Moore deserves praise for the recent run of football championships, for the three women's NCAA titles that UA programs won in the spring of 2012. He deserves respect for being a gentleman, a classy representative of Alabama, a calm but strong voice in the Southeastern Conference. Moore's tenure wasn't perfect - no AD has a perfect tenure, because no athletic department wins all of the championships in all of the sports all of the time - but he leaves Alabama a stronger program than the one he inherited. There will be an outpouring of honors and accolades forthcoming that recognizes that progress, an outpouring that has already started. Anyone can see why respect is merited.

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"Mal Moore has left an indelible mark on the University of Alabama," Arkansas AD Jeff Long said, "much like Frank Broyles has done here. The Crimson Tide athletic program has achieved tremendous success under Mal's leadership."

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The crowning achievement of Moore's tenure might just be the hiring of Saban, who has led Alabama to three national championships over the past four years, but Saban was quick to deflect that place of prominence on Moore's highlight-filled timeline.

"I think most things that you would stand here and look around here and see, he’s had some hand in making all the athletic facilities what they are, I think first class in so many ways," Saban said. "More than that he’s a class gentleman, probably as fine as you’ll ever meet, and he’s certainly been a good friend, and his support has certainly been appreciated."

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Moore serves as the strongest sinew connecting Alabama football today with the Bear Bryant Era. For 46 of the past 55 years, Moore has served as a student-athlete, assistant coach or administrator at Alabama.

Think of it -- Moore has won 10 national championship rings as a player (1961), assistant coach (1964, '65, '73, '78, '79 ,'92) and boss (2009, '11, '12). That takes care of his fingers. When Moore recovers from his lung ailment and begins his tenure as special assistant to the university president, Dr. Judy Bonner, he can begin on his toes.

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He doesn't have too much Bama in him. He has just the right amount, and he never felt the need to draw attention to the mutual respect and affection shared by the man and his school. You spend part of six decades of your life at a place, from the start of your journey to adulthood into the later years of your career, that place becomes more than your alma mater and your employer.

It becomes your family. Your home.

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He led a building boom during a recession, twice expanding Bryant-Denny Stadium and transforming the 74-year-old facility into a 101,821-seat palace, one of the jewels of college football.

In the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility, a building that was renamed in his honor on March 28, 2007, he worked in a corner office that overlooks the football practice facilities and the newest addition to the kingdom: a $9 million, 37,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art weight room that opened in February.

"He'll leave a legacy of accomplishment on the facilities, in getting the university through some difficult times," Steve Townsend, a former associate athletic director, said in a 2009 interview.

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Without Moore’s dogged support of all things Saban and the program (have you seen the new football facilities?), the Tide isn’t nearly as successful. There’s a reason Saban hasn’t looked back at the NFL since arriving in Tuscaloosa.

Everything he wants is in the college game. And he can thank Moore.

Now the university can thank Moore, too – with a bronze statue in the Walk of Champions. For a true champion of Alabama athletics.

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