McCarron, Saban talk of late Alabama AD Mal Moore

Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron used to wander over to athletic

director Mal Moore’s corner office every couple of weeks for a

chat, one Crimson Tide quarterback to another.

So it hit McCarron especially hard when he got the news Saturday

that Moore had passed away after a battle with pulmonary


”He was such a legend here and I always liked being around his

presence,” McCarron said Monday evening. ”It’s kind of like being

around coach (Nick) Saban. You can learn so much just carrying a

normal conversation with him. And how he used to carry himself in

public. He was a first-class man, did everything the right way.

”I love him to death and it’s sad to see him go.”

The university said Monday it will hold a public memorial

service for Moore Thursday in Coleman Coliseum.

Moore’s health problems had forced him to step down on March 20,

and he passed away at Duke University Medical Center at age 73. The

former Tide quarterback had been athletic director since 1999 after

playing on Bear Bryant’s first national championship team in 1961.

Moore also coached under Bryant and Gene Stallings.

Saban, who Moore hired as football coach in January 2007, said

the death hit him hard.

”It was really tough for me on Saturday when we got the news,”

Saban said. ”Mal was such a close friend, someone that I respected

personally as well as professionally, in terms of the way he

treated and thought about other people. Probably the most caring

person about always putting other people first that I’ve ever been

around, especially in the position of leadership that he had.

”Very, very compassionate. I never even saw him ever in the

years that I’ve known him treat anybody with disrespect. I think we

can all learn a lot – and I certainly have become a better person

being around Mal Moore, with the class and character and obviously

the integrity he had as a person and a coach and as an athletic

director. It’s just tough losing a good friend. I think his legacy

at this institution is going to last for a long, long time.”