Coach Mal Moore has Crimson Tide in his blood. The former Alabama quarterback, coach and current athletic director's done almost everything at the Capstone.
But there was a time when he stepped away from his alma mater. FOX6 sports reporter Britton Lynn, recently sat down with the Dozier, Alabama native to talk about his time at Notre Dame.
"I'd lived a sheltered life in the coaching profession," Moore said. "I think staying at one place. I played here five years for Coach Bryant then coached for him 19 years. I was with him 24 years. It came at a time right after Coach Bryant retired and a month after he passed away. I was offered the job at Notre Dame and took it. It was hard to leave. When i went to Notre Dame I didn't know a soul there except the coach that hired me."
But as soon as Coach Moore arrived on the Notre Dame campus he recognized a familiar face nearly everywhere he went.
"From the first day there, I went up to meet the athletic director and his receptionist. I looked behind her desk and there was a picture of Coach Bryant autographed to her. Later, he took me out to where the trophies are displayed. There was a picture of Coach Bryant framed and a picture of a letter framed that he had written Father Hesburgh after the 1973 game complimenting and congradulating Notre Dame on the win (against Alabama)," Moore said.
And it didn't just stop there.
"I was kind of shocked," Moore said. "The second day, I was on the job there George Kelly asked if I wanted to go uptown. He showed me a place called Pat's Pub, a little neighborhood bar. It was a famous Notre Dame hangout. On one wall they had pictures of every current Notre Dame player, but right in the middle of those players was a huge picture of Coach Bryant in his houndstooth hat. There was a light shining on (the picture of him) and a caption on it that said, 'Notre Dame fans will miss you too Bear.' Date of his birth and death. They left it there one year to the anniversary of his death. I would go by there a lot and get a sandwich."
These run-ins with his former mentor and friend, Coach Bryant, continued all the way until his last season with Notre Dame.
"That was kind of a neat thing for me," Moore said. "Father Hesburgh was the president of Notre Dame and after a game he had on a black and white houndstooth hat just like Coach Bryant's. We shook hands with all the players and I said, 'Father you look mighty handsome in that hat.' He said, 'Thank you Mal. Paul gave it to me.' And he took it off and it was autographed to him by Coach Bryant."
After spending a quarter of a century under Coach Bryant's reign it wasn't until Coach Moore left for Notre Dame that he understood the value in his time with the Bear.
"I think we had all taken our success here at Alabama for granted," Moore said. "I didn't realize until I left and looked back was around other people. Just to hear people talk about Alabama and talk about Coach Bryant. I realized what a great place the University of Alabama truly is. And how powerful Coach Bryant's name was at that time in this country."
But, it wasn't long until Coach Moore found himself back in sweet home Alabama.
"It gets in your blood," Moore said.
Coach Moore's been apart of nine Alabama national championships and hopes to bring in one more when Alabama takes on his former team, Notre Dame, Jan. 7.
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