Moore optimistic about future

Published 11:01 pm Friday, August 8, 2008

DEMOPOLIS — More than a year after the high-profile hire of head football coach Nick Saban, University of Alabama Director of Athletics Mal Moore reports being pleased with the direction of the institution’s most prominent program.

“I think it was a crucial hire and I’ve said many times how I appreciate him accepting our offer,” Moore said during an exclusive interview prior to addressing the audience at the Demopolis Civic Center. “I certainly feel he will enjoy success there for many years to come.”

He reiterated his faith in Saban during his address, branding the coach with his continued stamp of approval.

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”Coach Saban is doing an outstanding job,” Moore said. “I could not be prouder.”

The long-time Crimson Tide AD said he believes Saban’s talents coupled with the weight of the university’s name will be more than enough to restore the program to its expected national prominence.

“He has strengths and I think that is evident in his success in recruiting. He enjoyed great success this past year and I fully expect (that will continue),” Moore said of Saban, who pulled what is regarded by most as the top recruiting class of 2008.

Moore views the absence of talent prevalent on recent squads as a primary indicator of how far the football program has fallen.

“This past draft, we did not have a player drafted,” Moore said. “That shows that we kind of have a ways to go.”

While Moore was excited about the new crop of players that will take to the field this fall, during his speaking engagement he alluded to a need for continual recruiting success.

“We have good players. We don’t have the great players in place we need,” Moore said.

“I do think (Saban) will get the team back where we all want it and where we all expect it to be,” Moore said to the crowd of more than 80 individuals. “What he needs is for you to continue to go to the games and be supportive.”

In addition to his enthusiasm regarding the job his second-year head coach has done thus far, Moore also expressed his amazement at the demand for game tickets that has played its role in moving the university toward the proposed expansion of Bryant Denny Stadium that would take the facility’s capacity to 101,000.

“I’ve never in my life seen the demand for tickets,” Moore said.

Additionally, he took time to answer questions regarding the recent hire of Dave Hart, former Florida State athletic director.

“He will make a big difference and be extremely helpful to me in a lot of ways,” Moore said of Hart, who he said will assist largely in a behind-the-scenes capacity within the athletic department.

Moore also did not shy from questions regarding the Crimson Tide’s choice of opponents over the last several years, offering future foes as an example of improved non-conference schedule strength.

“Several years ago we had a contract with Georgia Tech. They come on in (2013 and 2014). Penn State comes on in (2010 and 2011),” Moore said. “I like to play those marquee opponents in bowl games. Getting to the bowl games is the important part.”