Alabama athletic director Mal Moore announced on Wednesday that he would be stepping down while at the pinnacle of his profession due to health issues.
When the Alabama football team won its second straight BCS national title and third in the last four years this year, Mal Moore won his tenth championship ring as a player, coach, and athletic director.
Moore played and coached for legendary head coach Paul W. "Bear" Bryant and became Alabama's athletic director in 1999.
There were concerns about his job security after the 2006 football season. But Moore hired head coach Nick Saban before the 2007 season, and Saban not only restored Alabama's football program to greatness that may be unparalleled in the modern era but became one of the greatest coaches in the history of the sport--alongside Bear Bryant, John McKay, and Frank Leahy--by winning three titles in four years and four titles in a decade if one counts his 2003 national title with LSU.
“As many of you may know, 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 released by Alabama. “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 know I can count on each of you to continue your unequaled support for me and the University of Alabama."
Moore also said he "cannot adequately express what the university means to me" and noted Alabama "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."
"I am so appreciative of the university administration, coaches, staff, student-athletes and fans who have made my tenure as director so very meaningful, memorable and special," Moore said.
Bonner said Moore "is Crimson Tide sports" and, during his tenure, "our student athletes have experienced unprecedented success in every aspect of their careers at UA, on the field of play and in the classroom."
"His contributions to UA athletics on every level are unsurpassed," she said. "And, while he will no longer be in charge of day-to-day operations, I am so pleased that we will continue to be able to rely on his wisdom and expertise going forward.”
Legendary sports talk radio host Paul Finebaum said nobody in the history of the football program has impacted it for as long as Moore had as a player, coach, and administrator.
"My first reaction was that he will go down in the annals of the University of Alabama athletic department as truly one of the seminal figures that have ever been there," Finebaum said. "You hear the line all the time about a place on Mount Rushmore, but I think he would be next to Coach (Paul) Bryant on Alabama's version of Mount Rushmore.
Finebaum said "nobody has affected the Alabama football program longer than Mal Moore, when you consider when he got there and what he has done since," and Moore's legacy will be the hiring of Saban, who brought Alabama's legendary football program back to its legendary status.
According to reports, Moore has been "hospitalized since March 11 with a pulmonary condition" and will become a special assistant to Alabama President Judy Bonner.
Moore's success went beyond football. In 2012, for instance, Alabama won "national championships in football, gymnastics, softball and women's golf." It was the first time Alabama had ever won more than one national championship in a year.
Alabama said they would try to name Moore's successor as quickly as possible.