Well that didn’t take long. And you can throw out all those candidate lists. The University of Alabama has settled on a new athletic director already. Indeed he’s an ex-Bama player and a former Tennessee employee. But he’s not Dave Hart, he’s former Bear Bryant pupil and ex-Volunteer head football coach, Bill Battle.
“Over the past several weeks, we have had multiple conversations about who should follow Coach (Mal) Moore as AD. 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.”
In Battle, Alabama has landed a tremendous businessman who happens to have a strong background in Crimson Tide and SEC athletics. Battle formed Collegiate Licensing Company in 1981. That company opened the door for colleges to begin protecting their logos and trademarks, which it turn led to the schools licensing out those marks for profit. It was a brilliant move and Battle’s company was eventually purchased by sports giant IMG (along with another company Battle founded).
Battle said in the release that his “instinct was to say no” to the job when first approached. After speaking with various officials at UA, however, he “couldn’t find a way to say no.”
The 71-year-old battle played at Alabama from 1960 through 1962. He then served as an assistant at Army and Tennessee before being promoted to the Volunteers’ head coaching position in 1970. At 28, he was the youngest coach of a major program in the country. He had a career record of 59-22-2 at Tennessee, but the program declined on his watch and he was eventually fired in 1976. He never coached again, but five years later, he began CLC and the rest… is history.
Given Battle’s age and his lack of experience running an athletic department, it’s expected that he will take over Moore’s duties which focused mainly on raising funds and improving facilities. Shane Lyons will likely continue to handle the day-to-day operations of the UA athletic department.