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Who is Mal Moore, and what does he mean to the University of Alabama? When someone mentions Alabama's athletics director's name, many college football fans might draw a blank. Even a few Alabama fans have little knowledge of Mal Moore's long history with the Crimson Tide.

When I think of Mal Moore two words sum up my opinion of this man: class and character.

Mal has been a player, a student, a coach, and athletics director at The University of Alabama.

Mal Moore was born in Dozier on December 19, 1939, where he grew up and played quarterback for the local high school. He was given a scholarship and came to the University of Alabama to play football for the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant in 1959.

He was part of the first class recruited to Alabama by Bryant. That class went on to win Bear Bryant's first and Alabama's sixth National Championship in 1961.

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Moore played as a backup quarterback to the legendary Pat Trammell and the great Joe Namath. Those great teams also included great players like Lee Roy Jordan and Billy Neighbors.

After graduation, Moore went on to earn his Masters degree at Alabama and was hired by Bear Bryant as an assistant coach in 1964. He coached at The Capstone until Bryant's retirement in 1982. Alabama won National Championships in 1964 and 1965 with Moore working with the secondary and in 1973, 1978 and 1979 with Moore as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator (a title Bryant gave him in 1975).

After Coach Bryant's retirement and death in 1982, he accepted a position at Notre Dame coaching offense. He joined Gene Stallings as quarterbacks coach of the St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals. When Stallings was hired as head coach at Alabama in 1990, Mal Moore returned to Alabama as offensive coordinator under Stallings, where he played a part in winning Alabama's 12th National Championship in 1992.

That National Championship would be Mal Moore's seventh at Alabama as a player or coach. No other man can claim that accomplishment, except Bear Bryant himself (who was a player on the 1934 national championship team).

In 1994 Mal Moore was named assistant athletics director. He was elevated to athletics director in 1999.

Mal inherited a football program headed for trouble with the NCAA and has led Alabama through some very difficult times. Those difficult times included probation, loss of scholarships, and four coaching changes.

Yes, it was impossible to field a championship team during this time, but that did not deter Moore from planning for the future.

During this period Mal kept himself focused preparing Alabama for its return to greatness. He oversaw multiple fundraising campaigns, which led to major building and improvement projects to many of Alabama's athletic facilities, including Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Bryant-Denny was expanded in 2006 and is now being expanded again to make it one of the largest and finest college football stadiums in the country.

Moore is responsible for the Walk of Champions and the renovation of Coleman Coliseum, new state-of-the-art softball and tennis stadiums and golf facility, as well as improvements to other Alabama athletics facilities.

Finding a great head coach while under NCAA probation was almost impossible, but Moore finally hit a home run when he managed to lure one of the finest college coaches in the nation away from the Miami Dolphins.

Nick Saban was introduced as Alabama's new head coach by Mal Moore in 2007.

Moore's persistence in the pursuit of Saban was instrumental in Coach Saban being Alabama's head coach today.

Much of the success Alabama has had, is having now, and will continue to have in the future was achieved under the watchful eye of one of Alabama's greatest icons.

Mal Moore has been a part of the University of Alabama for almost 50 years. He played and coached for Bear Bryant, he coached for Gene Stallings, and as athletics director, he is responsible for Nick Saban being at Alabama.

Mal Moore's time at Alabama may be winding down. His top assistant, Dave Hart, is beginning to take on his day to day responsibilities. But Moore says he plans to stay in his chair for "a while." His office and the offices of all administrators and all football staff, the weight room and training room are in the building that now bears the name "Mal Moore Athletic Facility."

Mal Moore has dedicated his life to The University of Alabama and for that he deserves every Alabama fan's respect and admiration.

The next time you hear his name mentioned, take a moment to remember just how important he has been to Alabama, and acknowledge his contributions to this great university.

He is truly represents Alabama's great past, and he is the key to Alabama's promising future.

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