BREAKING: Bonner to recommend Bill Battle as Tide’s next Director of Athletics


Photo courtesy Paul Bryant Museum

University of Alabama President Dr. Judy Bonner announced Thursday that she plans to recommend to the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees approval for her to hire former Tennessee football coach and Collegiate Licensing Company founder Bill Battle to succeed Mal Moore as the Crimson Tide’s next athletic director, has learned.

“It is with extremely mixed emotions that I am involved in this process,” said Battle. “My strong preference is that my teammate and longtime friend Mal Moore would be announcing another amazing accomplishment. When the University reached out to me, my instinct was to say no. However, after speaking with Dr. Bonner, Dr. Witt, Coach Saban, Mal and Paul Bryant, and seeing what I’ve seen at the University, I couldn’t find a way to say no.”

Battle, 70, is a Birmingham native and UA graduate who played under Coach Paul W. Bryant — including Bryant’s first national championship team in 1961.

“Over the past several weeks, we have had multiple conversations about who should follow Coach Moore as AD,” said Bonner in a statement. “Based on Mal’s strong endorsement as well as Coach Battle’s affiliation with UA as a player, partner and donor, his experience as a coach and his significant business background, I am confident that he is the right person to serve UA in this position. I am looking forward to working with him as we continue to build on the foundation of excellence that is the hallmark of Coach Moore’s tenure.”

Moore said he was pleased that President Bonner has selected Battle.

“When it became apparent that I was no longer going to be able to direct the Athletics Department,” Moore said in a statement, as he is still hospitalized in North Carolina, “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.”

Bonner also said that she would recommend that Moore become UA’s first Athletics Director Emeritus.

Battle entered the coaching profession as a grad assistant at Oklahoma in 1963. In 1964 and 1965, he served as an assistant coach at the United States Military Academy while serving a two-year military tour. in 1996, he moved to the University of Tennessee, where he served as an assistant coach for four years until he was named head coach in 1970. During his seven-year tenure as head coach, his teams went 59-22-2, ranked three times in the top-10, twice in the top-20, and won four out of five bowl games.

Battle holds a bachelor’s degree from The University of Alabama and a master’s degree from The University of Oklahoma. He was named first-team tight end and second-team defensive end on The University of Alabama All Decade Team of the 1960s, and in 1981 was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

Battle founded The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) in 1981. CLC, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is the nation’s oldest and largest marketing agency dedicated to providing domestic and international licensing services to the collegiate market. CLC currently represents nearly 200 colleges, universities, bowls and conferences, as well as the NCAA and The Heisman Trophy. CLC has been instrumental in growing the U.S. retail market for collegiate merchandise from approximately $250 million in 1981 to more than $4.3 billion in 2010. Since its inception in 1981, CLC has paid its member institutions more than $1 billion in royalties, most of which is used to fund scholarships and other campus initiatives.

Battle founded the company and served as its president and CEO until 2002 when he turned the day-to-day operations over to his son, Pat. In 2007, CLC was acquired by IMG, the world’s premier sports, entertainment,and media company. CLC operates as a business unit with IMG College, and Bill Battle remains active in the company and its related businesses.

In addition to his role at CLC, Battle also served as chairman of the board of Licensing Partners International (LPI). LPI was created in 2001 to represent the licensing interests of non-collegiate sports properties, as well as corporate and entertainment properties. LPI, which was also acquired by IMG in 2007, currently represents the PGA TOUR and Churchill Downs Incorporated, among other top properties.

Prior to starting CLC and Battle Enterprises, Battle held various positions within Circle S Industries in Selma, AL. He served as president of two different companies, as well as vice chairman of the Circle S Holding Company Board. During his six years at Circle S, the organization grew from two companies earning $12 million in annual sales to 10 companies earning $60 million.

Battle became the first member inducted into the National Collegiate Licensing Association Hall of Fame in 2000 and was the recipient of the 2005 Paul W. Bryant Alumni Athlete Award at The University of Alabama. In 2008, he was inducted into the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) Hall of Fame. Bill also received a National Football Foundation aware in New York in December 2008 for his Outstanding Contributions to Amateur Football. In June 2010, Battle was inducted into the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators’ (NACMA) 2010 Hall of Fame. In February 2011, he was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, receiving its Lifetime Achievement Award.

He serves on the boards of Bank of North Georgia, the Bryant-Jordan Student-Athlete Foundation, The University of Alabama A-Club Educational & Charitable Foundation, Crimson Tide Foundation and National Football Foundation.