Mal Moore, 73; helped Alabama football win 10 national titles

In January, Mr. Moore made his final speech as Alabama celebrated its third national championship in four years.
Vasha Hunt/Alabama Media Group via Associated Press
In January, Mr. Moore made his final speech as Alabama celebrated its third national championship in four years.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The University of Alabama’s former athletic director, Mal Moore, who played and coached under Bear Bryant and hired Nick Saban as football coach, died on Saturday. He was 73.

The university said Mr. Moore died at Duke University Medical Center. He had been in the Durham, N.C., hospital since March 13 with pulmonary problems.

The folksy, silver-haired Mr. Moore was part of 10 national championship football teams as a player, coach, or administrator in a career intertwined with three of the Crimson Tide’s most revered coaches — his old bosses Bryant and Gene Stallings and Saban, who has won three of the last four national titles.


He played for Bryant’s 1961 national championship team, and Bill Battle — a teammate of Mr. Moore’s — was hired to replace him two days after Mr. Moore stepped down on March 20. He was to become a special adviser to Alabama’s president.

University of Alabama
Mr. Moore won one national title with Alabama as a player.
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Mr. Moore oversaw an athletic department since 1999 that made more than $200 million in facilities improvements, including multiple expansions of Bryant-Denny Stadium, and won national championships in football, gymnastics, softball, and women’s golf in 2011-12.

The football building and his own memorabilia-covered office are housed in the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility, named after him in 2007.

Mr. Moore’s biggest claims to fame were the hiring of Saban and his long relationship with Mr. Bryant, whom he had hoped to succeed.

Mr. Moore was a freshman on Bryant’s first Alabama team in 1958 then spent 22 seasons as a coach, including a stint with Stallings for the NFL’s Cardinals in St. Louis and Phoenix.


He joined Bryant as a graduate assistant in 1964 and coached the secondary and quarterbacks before becoming the Tide’s first offensive coordinator in 1975. He was also Stallings’ offensive coordinator from 1990 to 1993 in a tenure that included the 1992 national championship.

He interviewed to take over the program after Bryant retired in 1982 but was passed over in favor of New York Giants coach Ray Perkins. That left Mr. Moore thinking about getting out of the profession before Notre Dame’s Gerry Faust hired him to coach running backs. ‘‘At the time, I kind of felt like a man without a country,’’ Mr. Moore said in 2012. ‘‘I was in a strange position that I’d never been in before.’’

His wife of 41 years, the former Charlotte Davis, died in 2010. His daughter, Heather Cook, lives in Scottsdale, Ariz.