University of Alabama president Judy Bonner on Thursday recommended former Tennessee football coach Bill Battle as the Crimson Tide's new athletic director.
Battle will replace Mal Moore, who announced his resignation Wednesday for health reasons. The University of Alabama system trustees have a conference call this morning to appoint Battle, and the school has set up an introductory news conference for early this afternoon.
"Over the past several weeks, we have had multiple conversations about who should follow Coach Moore as AD," Bonner said in a statement. "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 defensive end under Paul "Bear" Bryant on Alabama's 1960-62 teams, including the '61 national champions. He became a Tennessee assistant coach in 1966 before taking over the Volunteers in 1970 as a 28-year-old, which made him the youngest head coach in the country.
His first three Tennessee teams went 31-5, but Battle was fired after the 1976 season with a 59-22-2 record. He was just 3-11 against Alabama and Auburn.
In 1981, Battle founded the Collegiate Licensing Company and served as its president and CEO until 2002. CLC was acquired by the International Management Group in 2007.
"It is with extremely mixed emotions that I am involved in this process," Battle said. "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. [Robert] Witt, Coach [Nick] Saban, Mal and Paul Bryant, and seeing what I've seen at the university, I couldn't find a way to say no."