Mal Moore, who is closely linked to the two most successful football coaches in Southeastern Conference history, stepped down Wednesday as Alabama's athletic director.
The 73-year-old has battled heart problems this year and last week was transferred for more extensive testing at the Duke University Medical Center. Moore will become a special assistant to Alabama president Judy Bonner, and the university announced in a release that his successor will be named as quickly as possible.
"Due to factors related to my health, I am at a point that I can no longer fulfill my duties as athletics director in the true championship manner the position requires," Moore said in a statement. "While I have to focus on my health issue, I look forward to maintaining an ongoing working relationship with this great university as special assistant to Dr. Bonner. I cannot adequately express what the university means to me.
"It has been a part of my life for more than 50 years, and I feel honored to have served the Crimson Tide as a player, coach and administrator."
Alabama will head back to the Cowboys Classic in 2015 to open its season against Wisconsin, the school announced Wednesday. The Crimson Tide opened this past season there by routing Michigan 41-14.
The 2015 opener will mark the sixth consecutive year in which Alabama will have opened in the Chick-fil-A Classic or the Cowboys Classic. The Tide opened their 2008 and '09 seasons in Atlanta and will open their next two seasons in the Georgia Dome as well, facing Virginia Tech this year and West Virginia in 2014.
Moore has been a part of Alabama's last 10 national championships, beginning in 1961 under Paul "Bear" Bryant as the backup quarterback to Pat Trammell. He was a graduate assistant for Bryant's 1964 champions, the secondary coach for the '65 champs and was quarterbacks coach for Bryant's '73, '78 and '79 champs.
He was the offensive coordinator for Alabama's 1992 champions under Gene Stallings and left the sidelines for athletic administration after the '93 season. Moore was named athletic director in 1999 and made a monstrous hire in January 2007, snagging former LSU coach Nick Saban back to the college ranks following his two seasons with the Miami Dolphins.
Bryant's six national championships are the most in SEC history, while Saban is next with four. Saban has led Alabama to three of the last four national titles, and the Crimson Tide likely will be tabbed this summer as the preseason No. 1.
"Coach Moore is somebody that I have a tremendous amount of respect for," Saban said after the first full-pads practice of spring. "First, for giving us the opportunity to come to the University of Alabama and the great job he did on selling us on what could be done here. Then, all of the support he has given to our program.
"He certainly deserves a tremendous amount of credit for the success we have had because of the way he sets the table and serves us so well."
During Moore's tenure as athletic director, Alabama's athletic facilities have undergone more than $200 million of capital improvements. On March 28, 2007, the university's board of trustees renamed what had been known simply as the Football Building to the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility.
"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."