Alabama President Judy Bonner picks the experienced Bill Battle as Alabama’s new athletic director. Battle replaces Mal Moore who retired for health reasons. Battle brings considerable experience as both a coach and a businessman. His business credentials are impressive in the realm of collegiate athletics. Here is the official release from the University:
UA President Bonner to Recommend Bill Battle as Athletics Director
Dr. Judy Bonner, president of The University of Alabama, announced today that she will recommend to the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees approval of her hiring Bill Battle as the University’s new Athletics Director.
“Over the past several weeks, we have had multiple conversations about who should follow Coach Moore as AD,” said Bonner. “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.”
Battle was a three-year starter (1960-62) for the Crimson Tide, and was a member of Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s first national championship team in 1961. In 1963, Battle served as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Oklahoma under legendary head coach Bud Wilkinson, and was an assistant coach at the United States Military Academy while serving a two-year military tour in 1964-65. In 1966, he moved to the University of Tennessee, where he was an assistant coach for four years. He was named head coach at Tennessee in 1970 and, during his seven-year tenure, his teams went 59-22-2, and won four out of five bowl games.
Coach Battle founded the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) in 1981, and served as its president and CEO until 2002. He also has served as chairman of the board of Licensing Partners International (LPI), which was created in 2001 to represent licensing interests of non-collegiate sports properties, as well as corporate and entertainment properties. Both CLC and LPI were acquired by IMG (originally known as International Management Group) in 2007.
He was named to The University of Alabama All-Decade Team of the 1960s and was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1981. He received the 2005 Paul W. Bryant Alumni Athletic Award at The University of Alabama and was inducted into the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association Hall of Fame in 2008. He was the recipient of a National Football Foundation award in 2008 for his outstanding contributions to amateur football. In 2010, he was selected as one of the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators two-member Hall of Fame class.
Moore said he was pleased that President Bonner has selected Battle.
“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.”
“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.”
Bonner said she would also recommend to the Board that Coach Moore be named Athletics Director Emeritus as well as special assistant to the president.
“Mal Moore’s legacy surrounds us every day,” Bonner said. “From state-of-the-art facilities, to raising more than $240 million in capital improvements to UA’s athletic facilities as well as support for UA’s students and athletes, to multiple teams that have excelled at every level, to attracting top-rated coaches and staff, he has upheld and embodied the Crimson Tide spirit in every endeavor. It is my pleasure to recommend to the Board that he be awarded another first in a career filled with them – UA’s first Athletics Director Emeritus. As we move forward, I am confident that Coach Battle will continue the momentum that Mal established.”