Moore Discusses Basketball Events

Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore asked Mark Gottfried for his resignation as Crimson Tide basketball coach and The University will pay the contracted amount of his buyout, rumored to be in the $2 million range over the next two-plus years. Moore will now direct a search that he expects to result in Bama having a new coach at or shortly after the end of this season.

Alabama's athletics director said that he called Gottfried to his office Monday. The severance agreement signed by Gottfried and University President Dr. Robert E. Witt said "As requested by the University, Gottfried submits, and the University agrees to accept, Gottfried's resignation..."

The agreement said the termination was "without cause" and stipulated that Gottfried would be paid "liquidated damages called for by Gottfried's Contract..."

Moore did not suggest any particular factor resulted in the termination. He said the situation had been "building for a couple of years. It built to the point we were uncomfortable with where we were, where we were going, the lack of attendance, the direction of the team. We felt it was time to go ahead and make the decision."

Moore said he would be assisted by Executive Director of Athletics Dave Hart (formerly athletics director at FSU and a former Crimson Tide basketball player and student coach) and by "friends" in the basketball world. Asked specifically about former Alabama Basketball Coach C.M. Newton, who is living in Tuscaloosa and still very active in basketball circles (including helping universities in coaching searches), Moore said he would include Newton in that category of a friend. Otherwise, there will not be a search committee or an outside agency involved.

Moore said a list of perhaps three candidates would be determined and then contacts made with a goal of having a new coach in place at the end of this season. Those contacts, he pointed out, can be made with a coach directly, with his agent, or with his athletics director. "You kind of play that by ear," Moore said.

He said the new coach would be a proven college head coach. Although he expressed appreciation to Philip Pearson who is serving as interim coach, Moore indicated Pearson would not meet the criteria for the next permanent coach.

"I spoke to Philip and told him to ‘Have fun'," Moore said. He said he spoke with all the players and staff in the men's basketball program.

Moore acknowledged that Gottfried "had some tough breaks along the way. But we were losing ground with the fan base and with the direction of the program."

Moore thanked Gottfried for the years he had given Alabama, including his years as a basketball player for the Crimson Tide, and pledged to support Gottfried in any way he could. Moore characterized the Monday meeting as "awkward and difficult for both of us," and thanked Gottfried for the way he handled the situation.

Moore said the search for a coach would be for a proven college coach who can develop a team competitive for the Southeastern Conference championship and in the NCAA Tournament. He also listed criteria that include those things for which Gottfried had high marks- signing quality young men and having them earn degrees and be good representatives of The University.

Asked if his experience in hiring Nick Saban as Alabama's head football coach two years ago would be of help in this task, Moore smiled and called that "one of a kind. I won't be gun-shy. I experienced a lot in that one."

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