Bill Battle was introduced as The University of Alabama's Director of Athletics by UA President Dr. Judy Bonner at a press conference in the Mal M. Moore Athletics Building on Friday morning. The announcement and introduction of Battle came shortly after the former Crimson Tide football letterman and business leader was approved by the University of Alabama System's Board of Trustees in a conference call.
"Coach Battle has a strong record as the founder and CEO of a highly successful corporation," Bonner said. "These skills, as well as his background as a student athlete, a winning coach and a very intimate understanding of what the Crimson Tide tradition represents affords him the expertise he needs to successfully lead every facet of the University of Alabama Athletics Department."
Battle was joined on the dais by his family led by his wife, Mary, his sons Pat and Mike, his daughter Shannon Tanner and son-in-law Chad Tanner, his step-daughter Kayla Kitchens and her fiancé Frankie Smeraglia, and family friend Vince Thompson. Battle succeeds Mal Moore, who stepped down Wednesday after 14 years as Director of Athletics. Moore has been named by Bonner as Athletics Director Emeritus as well as special assistant to the president.
"The direction from the University at the top is clear, from what they want from the whole University and the athletics," Battle said. "My goal is to work with these great coaches and this great staff that Mal has assembled and understand what' working that we need to continue to enhance, and what's not working that we need to maybe do something different to. It's important that we keep working hard and keep moving forward. Athletics is a special challenge. Getting to work with student-athletes and preparing them to compete at the highest level is fun and challenging. Getting them prepared to compete in life is also fun and challenging. Getting them to do all of that with honor and integrity is another challenge and those are the things that we hope to do."
"When it became apparent that I was no longer going to be able to direct the Athletics Department," Moore said, "I felt that Bill Battle was the one person who could sustain all the good things that have happened the past few years while also moving us forward with planned improvements. Certainly, his background at the University as a student-athlete coupled with a career as coach and his creativity and unparalleled success at Collegiate Licensing gives him an extensive background to lead the Crimson Tide Athletics Department.
"Bill is a man of unimpeachable integrity who understands the heritage and tradition of The University of Alabama. He has been a friend of mine since we were teammates and an individual who has always gone beyond the call of duty in helping the Athletics Department during my tenure as its director. I personally recommended Bill to Dr. Bonner for this job knowing he will appropriately support our coaches in their efforts to bring championship teams home to Tuscaloosa and ensure that our student-athletes earn their degrees and represent the Crimson Tide in the same manner that Bill did as a player and as an alumnus."
Battle was a three-year starter (1960-62) for the Crimson Tide, and was a member of Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's first national championship team in 1961. In 1963, Battle served as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Oklahoma under legendary head coach Bud Wilkinson, and was an assistant coach at the United States Military Academy while serving a two-year military tour in 1964-65. In 1966, he moved to the University of Tennessee, where he was an assistant coach for four years. He was named head coach at Tennessee in 1970 and, during his seven-year tenure, his teams went 59-22-2, and won four out of five bowl games.
Battle founded the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) in 1981, and served as its president and CEO until 2002. He also has served as chairman of the board of Licensing Partners International (LPI), which was created in 2001 to represent licensing interests of non-collegiate sports properties, as well as corporate and entertainment properties. Both CLC and LPI were acquired by IMG (originally known as International Management Group) in 2007.
He was named to The University of Alabama All-Decade Team of the 1960s and was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1981. Battle received the 2005 Paul W. Bryant Alumni Athletic Award at The University of Alabama and was inducted into the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association Hall of Fame in 2008. He was the recipient of a National Football Foundation award in 2008 for his outstanding contributions to amateur football. In 2010, Battle was selected as one of the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators two-member Hall of Fame class.
INFORMATION SOURCE: University of Alabama Athletics Dept.