By Dennis Washington
PASADENA, CA (WBRC) - Alabama head football coach Nick Saban praised a lot of people Friday, but none more than the school's athletic director, Mal Moore.
"Mal had the foresight when things weren't going so well at Alabama to build the facilities and do the things necessary that one day we'd be able to elevate the program again to one that got some positive national recognition."
Moore, a former Alabama assistant coach to Gene Stallings, was instrumental in not only hiring Nick Saban three years ago, but also leading the fundraising efforts to build new athletic facilities within the past 10 years. Saban invited Moore to pose with him for pictures in front of the national championship trophies presented to him Friday morning.
Saban also took a few moment to praise the program's devoted fans.
"The day that I felt like something special could be sort of accomplished was the first spring game we had, and there were 92,000 people there and probably 10,000 or 12,000 more that couldn't get in," Saban said. "I think that kind of passion, that kind of support, that kind of positive energy certainly contributes greatly to having a chance to be successful. It makes me feel very proud to add to the great tradition of the University of Alabama, something significant in this time, and we feel like there's a tremendous responsibility and obligation to having a high standard of excellence in terms of what we do and how we do it. Because of that tradition, it makes me feel very good that we've been able to contribute to that in a positive way."
The university is expected to soon begin plans to build a statue in the likeness of Saban to go out in the Walk of Champions in front of Bryant-Denny Stadium. The walk features four bronze statues, one for each Alabama coach who has led the Crimson Tide to a national championship. When the display was built a few years ago, space was reserved for the next coach to lead Alabama to a national title.
Saban was asked Friday what he wanted the inscription to say on his statue.
"Well, I haven't thought about it," Saban said. "Terry said something about that this morning when we got up, and that was really the first time I thought about it. In all honesty, I guess that when you're driven and you put as much into what you do as we have, not just for this year but for 30-some years, you would hope that something you do leaves a mark and the way you did it leaves a mark that is positive, that maybe could affect someone in a positive way in the future. You know, I think that would be the most significant thing I would see from something like that."
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