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Moore offers encouragement

DEMOPOLIS — More than 80 people gathered at the civic center Thursday night to meet with University of Alabama Director of Athletics Mal Moore, who was in town to help the quarterback club launch its 2008 membership drive.

“It boosts our membership. It gets our name out there,” quarterback club president Kenny Freeman.

Moore, who is one of Freeman’s hunting partners, said he was excited to consent when the group asked him to speak.

“I was eager to do it. It is an opportunity for me to come down and sell the university and sell the athletic department,” Moore said. “Easy call on my part.”

Moore expressed his belief in the value of organizations such as the quarterback club.

“I’ve seen this in so many towns. Without question it can be very, very positive for the success of any program,” he said. “It brings oneness to the community because they all fell a part of it.”

Moore took to the podium just after 7 p.m. and spoke on a number of topics ranging from his experiences with legendary head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant to the progress the athletic department has made in recent years.

“I didn’t realize myself how powerful he was across this country,” Moore said of the effects Bryant had on the game at a national level before switching gears and endorsing current head coach Nick Saban.

The Crimson Tide AD also took the time to encourage the Demopolis Quarterback Club in its efforts to support its local teams.

“You need to feel proud of what you’re doing and make your club even stronger,” the Crenshaw County native said. Following his speech, Moore answered questions from audience members. Inquiries ranged from the expansion to Bryant Denny Stadium that promises to bring capacity near 101,000 to the scheduling of more high profile games such as Clemson to the hiring of former Florida State athletic director Dave Hart.

“Like Coach said, the quarterback club is just a support group. It means a lot to the football team and the football team means a lot to Demopolis,” Freeman said.

Among those in attendance was Demopolis City Schools superintendent Dr. L. Wayne Vickers, who expressed his excitement about the direction of the quarterback club.

“We couldn’t do it without the quarterback club and without all of our parents,” Vickers said. “I have worked in a lot of different school systems and I am continually blown out of the water at the support of our parents.”

The event admitted individuals who had either already paid the $25 dues or were looking to join the group. Additional family members were granted access to the engagement for $5 each. The club’s next scheduled event is Saturday, Aug. 16 at 7 a.m. when it will meet at Memorial Stadium for a clean-up day.