— TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama athletic director Mal Moore is stepping down to become special assistant to the president because of health problems after a lengthy reign at his alma mater that ended with the Crimson Tide's football program back on top nationally.
The university announced the move on Wednesday. The 73-year-old Moore, who played and coached for Paul "Bear" Bryant" and then hired football coach Nick Saban, has been hospitalized at Duke University Medical Center since March 13 with pulmonary problems.
He has been the Tide's athletic director since 1999, and will work under university President Dr. 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 in a statement released by the university. "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 cannot adequately express what the university means to me. It has been a part of my life for more than 50 years, and I feel honored to have served the Crimson Tide as a player, coach and administrator."
Moore has been part of 10 national championship football teams in those various capacities. His biggest move as athletic director was hiring Saban away from the Miami Dolphins in January 2007 after a failed attempt to hire Rich Rodriguez.
Saban has led the Tide to three of the last four national titles, and said Moore set the table for that success.
Moore, however, started with a nice recruiting job on wife Terry Saban.
"I wasn't even going to talk to him," Saban said. "But I called Terry and said, 'I don't think I'm going to talk to these guys.' And she said, 'Oh, well Mal is already here. We've been talking for an hour.' So, that was his first step in the right direction. But you know, I always had a tremendous amount of respect for Mal since I was at LSU. As a coach, you always have a special appreciation for the other coaches who are ADs.