Bill Battle Introduced As New Alabama AD
Only two days (day and a half really) after UA president Judy Bonner recommended Bill Battle as the next Athletic Director for the University of Alabama, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved the decision on a Friday morning teleconference.
UA president Judy Bonner: “Our dear friend and colleague, Mal Moore, has given us a good blueprint … in order to be successful as AD.”
Battle, 71, steps in as longtime athletics director Mal Moore stepped down this past Wednesday because of health issues. Moore who has been the UA AD since 1999 has been hospitalized for more than week at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., with pulmonary problems.
“The call came and told me about Mal, and told me they were interested in me for this job. My first reaction was wow, what a great honor” was Battle’s 1st reaction. ”But, man, do I really want to do this?’ For the last two weeks, that’s what I’ve been wrestling with.”
After his visit to the UA campus where he took a tour of the buildings and new facilities Battles comment seemed to solidify him taking the position “What an incredible time to be at the University of Alabama” He decided if he didn’t do it, ”It would be a big mistake.”
The new UA AD will bring in a $620,000 salary and be hired for an initial four-year term. Specific terms of the contract have not been finalized, Bonner said.
Battle is a former football player under Paul “Bear” Bryant, assistant under the Bear, head football coach and multimillion-dollar entrepreneur and he was hand picked by Moore as his successor. Battle says he visited with Moore on Wednesday. “He’s got a lot of long hard work ahead of him.” But was in good spirits. Coach Battle was an end on Bryant’s first national championship team and has stayed closely affiliated with the university throughout his post-coaching business career.
He entered the coaching profession as a grad assistant at The University of Oklahoma in 1963. In 1964 and 1965, he served as an assistant coach at the United States Military Academy while serving a two-year military tour. In 1966, he moved to the University of Tennessee, where he served as an assistant coach for four years until he was named head coach in 1970. During his seven-year tenure as head coach, his teams went 59-22-2, ranked three times in the top-10, twice in the top-20, and won four out of five bowl games. After his head football coaching job ended at the University of Tennessee he shocked everyone by deciding to get out of coaching altogether. “Battle was a whale of a coach – honest, fine, a good man compiling a 59-22-2 record during the next six seasons and we grew to be wonderful friends.” says Roy Exum of The Chattanoogan
In 1981 he decided to embark on another, uncharted, side of the athletic realm, the Collegiate Licensing Indu.stry. The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) is the nation’s oldest and largest marketing agency dedicated to providing domestic and international licensing services to the collegiate market. CLC currently represents nearly 200 colleges, universities, bowls, and conferences, as well as the NCAA and The Heisman Trophy. The company has been instrumental in growing the U.S. retail market for collegiate merchandise from approximately $250 million in 1981 to more than $4.3 billion in 2010. “We built a culture in our company that Coach Saban, you’d be proud of” says Coach Bill Battle. Since its inception in 1981, Battle’s start-up company has paid its member institutions more than $1 billion in royalties, most of which is used to fund scholarships and other campus initiatives.
The newly appointed UA AD also served as a board member for the Bryant-Jordan Student-Athlete Foundation, The University of Alabama A-Club Educational & Charitable Foundation and Crimson Tide Foundation.
Bill Battle says that he first wants to help athletes to compete at highest levels while in school. Secondly to help them compete post-graduation in their careers and professions and finally for the athletic to continue to operate “with honor &integrity.”
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