Mal Moore remembered by former players, friends and family
Mal Moore’s career at the University of Alabama spanned more than four decades, as a player, coach and administrator — he was, Brewton’s Roger Chapman said, the “glue” that held the football family together.
Moore, the athletic director who stepped down from his post just 10 days before he died Saturday from pulmonary problems, will be remembered at a public memorial service Thursday.
Moore’s connections to Brewton are through both family and football. His sister, Jean Long, is a Brewton resident, and he recruited or coached several players from the area.
“Coach Moore was the offensive coordinator when I was a player in the mid 1970s at Alabama,” said Chapman, who was on the 1978 national championship team that defeated Penn State 14-7 in the Sugar Bowl.
“He made a young kicker feel comfortable at practice as we were trying field goals and practicing kick-off coverage on the turf with the first team and coach Bryant was watching from the tower,” Chapman said. “He used to tell me during the games, when we were going on the field to try a field goal or to kick off, that it was just like practice and to just go out there and do the things we have been doing all week, relax and everything will be fine. Easy for him to say, I thought, but it helped. Later after I graduated, Mal always remembered my name and he always made a point to speak whenever I saw him.”
Chapman said he was honored to introduce Moore in Brewton at the Alabama Alumni Association meeting in 2011.
“He was the thread that connected the players who played for coach Bryant to the current successful teams that we have now under Coach Saban,” Chapman said. “In my opinion, he was the glue that kept the entire ‘football family’ together during some not so successful times in the past. I give him the credit for our successful athletic teams in many other sports, not just football. His smiling face and gentle demeanor will be missed greatly in Tuscaloosa in the days and years to come. When one looks at all the championship teams the University of Alabama has put on the field, Mal Moore’s name will stand above the rest as an integral part of a whole bunch of them.”
Moore was part of 10 football national championship teams as a player, coach or administrator. Moore played on legendary Alabama head coach Bear Bryant’s 1961 national championship team. Bill Battle — another member of that team — was hired to replace Moore as athletic director after Moore stepped down on March 20.
Brewton’s Ed Hines, who played defensive end for Alabama from 1969-1972, met Moore when Hines was playing for Lafayette High School.
“I had the good fortune of having been recruited by Coach Moore when I was in high school,” Hines said. “I have hanging in my office a telegram he sent me before one of our high school games. Coach Moore knew the game of football inside and out. He had a stern and serious look about him that could be instantly erased with a big flashing smile. Coach Moore was the consummate gentleman. His dedication and service to the University of Alabama will go unmatched for a long time, if not forever. There is no question that Coach Moore played a very major role in the successes enjoyed by Alabama in football and other sports over the past years. He will be missed.”
Brewton’s Jean Long said she will miss her brother terribly.
“He was a wonderful man,” she said. “He was great and a wonderful brother. We were raised in the country, and it wasn’t easy when we were growing up.”
Long recalled her brother’s marriage to wife Charlotte, who died of Alzheimer’s in 2010.
“He took the best care of his wife, Charlotte,” Long said. “You couldn’t find a finer man than he was.”
Miriam McDaniel, president of the Escambia County Alabama’s University of Alabama Alumni and Friends club, said she was saddened to learn about Moore’s death.
“Coach Moore loved the University of Alabama, devoting over 50 years of his life to service there in various capacities,” she said. “Under his direction every athletic department at the university underwent renovations and improvements making our facilities some of the most state-of-the-art in the nation. We are very fortunate to have had Coach Moore come visit us here at the Escambia County Alumni and Friends meeting in 2011. You didn’t have to be around him very long to see what a delightful, sincere gentleman he was. His love for the university was readily apparent as well. I am proud and honored to have known Coach Mal Moore. His legacy at the University of Alabama will be remembered and appreciated for many generations to come.”
The University of Alabama will host a “Celebration of Life” in memory of Moore in Coleman Coliseum on the UA campus at 3 p.m. Thursday.
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).
A native of Dozier, he was married to the former Charlotte Davis of Tuscaloosa for 41 years. He is survived by one daughter, Mrs. Steve (Heather) Cook of Scottsdale, Ariz., a granddaughter, Anna Lee, and a grandson, Charles Cannon.
Moore was the director of athletics from 1999-2013 at Alabama.
Moore was a football player under Bryant from 1958-62 and went on to serve as an assistant football coach on Bryant’s staff. Moore held the distinction of being a part of ten national championship teams as a player, coach and athletics director (1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978, 1979, 1992, 2009, 2011 and 2012), 16 SEC championships, and 39 bowl trips. He is the only individual connected with the Tide program – and likely the only person in collegiate athletics – to be a part of ten national football championships.
During a coaching career that spanned 31 years, Moore spent 22 of those at Alabama with stops at Montana State, Notre Dame and the NFL’s St. Louis and Phoenix Cardinals. At Alabama, Moore began as Bryant’s graduate assistant in 1964, then as defensive backfield coach for six seasons (1965-70) before becoming quarterbacks coach from 1971-82 and serving as the Tide’s first offensive coordinator starting in 1975. He returned as offensive coordinator under Gene Stallings from 1990-93 before moving into athletic administration.