The University of Alabama Board of Trustees unanimously approved the hire of Bill Battle as the new athletics director Friday morning and the former Crimson Tide player was introduced at a news conference a short time later.
School president Dr. Judy Bonner made her recommendation to hire Battle to the board Thursday.
"It's an extreme honor and privilege to be standing here today." Battle said in his opening statement to the media. "But as honored as I am to stand before you, I would much rather be out in radio, newspaper and TV land, watching this press conference and Mal Moore standing here telling us what his plans are for this next year or announcing some great, amazing accomplishment that he's done. What he and the university has done are remarkable and I am proud to be here."
Battle will replace Mal Moore, who stepped down Wednesday due to health concerns. During talks with Dr. Bonner, Moore strongly endorsed Battle as his replacement, the school revealed in a news release yesterday.
"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." Moore said.
Moore remains at Duke University Medical Center where he is being treated for pulmonary complications. The extent of his medical problems has not yet been released to the public, but Battle said today that the long-time staple at the Capstone has a wealth of support from across the country.
"We had a chance to go see Mal Wednesday and I can tell you he's in good spirits. He looks like he's gone through the worst two-a-day practice that he's ever gone through." Battle said. "He's got a long, hard road of work ahead of him, but he's got a lot of prayers and support behind him from all over the country." Battle said.
Moore's newly-hired successor 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.
Battle founded the Collegiate Licensing Company in 1981, and served as its president and CEO until 2002. He also has served as chairman of the board of Licensing Partners International, 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.