Friends remember Mal Moore

Published 8:16 am Wednesday, April 3, 2013

University of Alabama athletic director Mal Moore speaks at the Luverne Rotary Club's banquet in 2011.  The Dozier native died last Saturday. (File Photo)

University of Alabama athletic director Mal Moore speaks at the Luverne Rotary Club’s banquet in 2011. The Dozier native died Saturday. (File Photo)

Mal Moore, the longtime athletics director at the University of Alabama and a Dozier native, died Saturday.

Moore had been a part of athletics at the University of Alabama for more than 50 years as a player, assistant coach and athletics director, and he was a part of 10 national championship teams, 16 SEC championships and 39 bowl games.

Moore graduated from Dozier High School in 1958, where he was the football team’s quarterback.

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“We had 18 people in my class,” Moore told the Luverne Rotary Club in 2011. “Back then, everybody made the football team.”

He also said that some of his fondest memories were of playing football at Dozier, and he remembered when lights were put up at the stadium.

“We probably had 200 or 300 people at the game, but we thought it felt like 10,000,” Moore told the Rotary Club.

Two Luverne residents, John Wise Sr. and his father-in-law Steve Hicks, were responsible for taking Moore to his first college football game — a trip to Birmingham to see the Crimson Tide play.

“He was a senior in high school and a good athlete,” Wise said. “We were recruiting him for Alabama.”

Moore attended the University of Alabama and played quarterback from 1958 to 1962 under legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, though much of his time was spent as a backup to Pat Trammell and Joe Namath.

He joined Alabama’s staff as a graduate assistant in 1965 and worked as an assistant coach under Bryant until 1982.  He returned to UA in 1990 as the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, and in 1994, Moore was named the assistant athletics director.

He became the school’s head athletic director in 1999 and served in that role until he announced his retirement on March 20.

Despite his success, friends say that he always remembered his roots.

“He was a fine person, and he never forgot where he came from,” Wise said.

“Any students that went to Alabama, he’d tell them two things they’d need to do: go to church and remember where they’d come from,” said Sarah Clark. “He was a wonderful man.”

Clark said that Moore always came to Dozier High School reunions.

James Hollis said that Moore remained an athlete throughout his life.

“He loved to quail hunt, and he was an excellent shot,” he said. “He hunted here a good bit, but he also hunted everywhere.  He was a good golfer, too.  He was just an overall good athlete.”

Friends say that Moore also did charity work for the Boys’ and Girls’ Club and raised awareness for Alzheimer’s Disease, which his wife Charlotte suffered from.

“He loved his family,” said Hollis. “His wife had Alzheimer’s, and he visited her in the nursing home every day.  One day, one of his friends asked him, ‘Mal, why do you go see her every day?  She hasn’t known you in 10 years.’  He replied, ‘But I know who she is.’ ”

He established a care service for Alzheimer’s patients, called the Mal and Charlotte Moore Caring Days Center.

Moore’s name also adorns the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility, which is the centerpiece of the athletic facilities at Alabama.

In the wake of Moore’s death, everyone from Crenshaw County residents to Alabama’s governor has expressed sadness at his passing.

“Coach Moore will be deeply missed. I’ve known Mal for over 30 years and have always considered him a good friend as well as a good man,” Gov. Robert Bentley, a Tuscaloosa resident, said in a statement. “He was devoted to UA Athletics, and he will also be remembered for his dedication to his family. Mal made a positive impact on our entire state. I want to offer my deepest condolences to his family during this time.”

A memorial celebration will be held on Thursday, April 4 at 3 p.m. in Coleman Coliseum on Alabama’s campus.

In lieu of flowers, gifts or letters, the Moore family requests that those wishing to express condolences consider a donation in memory of Mal Moore to the Crimson Tide foundation (c/o Telisa Blanton, P.O. Box 870343, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0343) or the Mal and Charlotte Moore Caring Days Center (P.O. Box 3049, Tuscaloosa, AL 35403).