Alabama AD Mal Moore steps down

Mal Moore, who has been intertwined with Alabama athletics for more than 50 years, is stepping down as athletics director after experiencing health problems.

Moore, 73, was hospitalized at Duke University Medical Center last week with pulmonary problems. His resignation is effective immediately, according to the university, and he will take on the role of special assistant to university president Judy Bonner.

"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. "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 has been Alabama's athletics director since 1999. He played football at Alabama under Paul "Bear" Bryant and graduated in 1963. He was also a longtime assistant coach under Bryant and has been a part of 10 national championship football teams as a player, coach and athletic director.

"Mal Moore is Crimson Tide sports," Bonner said. "During his tenure as athletics director, 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. 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."

Moore was hospitalized in Birmingham, Ala., on March 11 and transported to Duke later in the week for more tests. The university released a statement Thursday stating that Moore was resting comfortably. Alabama football coach Nick Saban said he visited with Moore in the hospital in Birmingham and that Moore was "in good spirits" and had family with him.

Moore was largely responsible for resurrecting the sleeping giant that was Alabama.

When he signed on as director of athletics, the Crimson Tide football team hadn't won a championship in seven years. It took a few coaching searches -- Mike Dubose, Dennis Franchione, Mike Price and Mike Shula never panned out -- until he found his man in Nick Saban. The two have built a dynasty in the years since Moore introduced Saban at a news conference when he said the new coach "signified a new era of Crimson Tide football."

Saban turned the ship around largely with the help of Moore who helped facilitate millions of dollars of improvements to the program's infrastructure, most recently building a new two-story, 37,000 square-foot $9 million strength-and-conditioning facility that took all of five months to complete.

"All the support he's given to our program," Saban said Wednesday, "he certainly deserves a tremendous amount of credit for any success we've had."

Saban praised Moore for his tenure at Alabama, especially his ability to persuade he and his wife Terry to leave the Miami Dolphins for the head coaching job at Alabama in 2007.

"I called Terry and said, 'I don't think I'm going to talk to these guys tonight,' " Saban recalled. "She said, 'Oh, Mal's already here and we've been talking for an hour.' So that was [Moore's] first step in the right direction."

Saban wouldn't go into who the next athletic director would be, rebuffing the question before it was ever asked. The only thing he would with certainty was that it wouldn't be him.

"You're going to ask me who the next athletic director is going to be and that's not my decision," he said. "... So don't ask me."

TideNation's Alex Scarborough contributed to this report.