He interviewed to take over the program after Bryant retired in 1982 but was passed over in favor of New York Giants coach Ray Perkins. Suddenly jobless and pondering getting out of coaching, Moore accepted an offer to coach Notre Dame's running backs.
"At the time, I kind of felt like a man without a country," Moore said in a December 2012 interview ahead of the BCS championship game with the Fighting Irish. "I was in a strange position that I'd never been in before."
Moore was inducted into the state of Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2011 and won the John L. Toner Award given by the National Football Foundation and the Hall of Fame to the nation's best athletics director for the 2011-12 school year.
Stallings recommended Moore twice for the athletic director spot, and the second time he got the job. Moore hired three coaches — including Mike Price, who was fired before coaching in a game — before landing Saban.
The program has flourished since.
"I just think he's done a super job," Stallings said of Moore. "He's kept an excellent profile. Nearly everything under his watch has continued to grow. The stadium is as pretty as any in the country. I just can't say enough good things about Mal."
Arkansas vice chancellor and athletic director Jeff Long compared Moore to a Razorbacks icon.
"Mal Moore has left an indelible mark on the University of Alabama, much like Frank Broyles has done here at Arkansas, and the Crimson Tide athletic program has achieved tremendous success under Mal's leadership," Long said. " I have enjoyed getting to know him and working with him over the past five years and appreciate the manner in which he welcomed me to the circle of SEC athletic directors. I will miss Mal on a professional and personal level and wish him the very best as he focuses on his recovery."