NCF Nation: Judy Bonner

They don't make athletic directors like Mal Moore anymore. The modern athletic director is a guy whose favorite athletic gear is a deposit slip. He climbs the ladder of "development," the euphemism for fundraising. He has to hire a search firm to hire a coach, because he didn't coach himself.

Moore, whose ill health dictated that he step aside Wednesday as the Alabama athletic director after 13 years, has been none of that. Well, check that. Moore could raise money, as they say down South, like nobody's bidness. The university has spent more than $200 million on new and expanded athletic facilities during Moore's tenure.

All of that started with Moore calling the big wallets and saying in his soft Crenshaw County drawl, "We sure could use your help."

But buildings aren't the reason that Moore succeeded. They are the results. Moore succeeded because no man or woman, living or dead, cares more about the University of Alabama than he.

Moore serves as the strongest sinew connecting Alabama football today with the Bear Bryant Era. For 46 of the past 55 years, Moore has served as a student-athlete, assistant coach or administrator at Alabama.

Think of it -- Moore has won 10 national championship rings as a player (1961), assistant coach (1964-65-73-78-79-92) and boss (2009-11-12). That takes care of his fingers. When Moore recovers from his lung ailment and begins his tenure as special assistant to the university president, Dr. Judy Bonner, he can begin on his toes.

Moore could be as cautious as he was courtly. What he lacked in flash he made up for with sheer doggedness, having learned his work ethic from the master, Bryant. Moore succeeded because on his fourth attempt at hiring a football coach, he got it spectacularly right.

For Ivan Maisel's full column, click here.

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