‘Crimson Heart’ shows Moore’s love for UA

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 18, 2015

Shown is Frank Moore, Chuck Moore and Mal Moore. | Courtesy photo

Shown is Frank Moore, Chuck Moore and Mal Moore. | Courtesy photo

Most anyone who knows any University of Alabama football lore would agree that “Crimson Heart” accurately describes Mal Moore’s love for the football program there.

His book by that title records his memories of not only University of Alabama football, but also the days when he was growing up and playing sports in Dozier.

Moore played on legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s first Alabama football team, and his first championship team, and was later an assistant coach and athletic director. As a player, coach, and director of athletics, he was part of 10 national championship football teams.

“Mal had been dictating this for two or three years,” his brother, Andalusia resident Frank Moore said of the book. “He started long before we knew how sick he was.”

Moore said his brother called upon Steve Townsend, with whom he had previously worked as an associate athletic director in the alumni office.

“He got to know all of our family,” Moore recalled of Mal’s early years with Townsend. “He travelled with Mal, and when they were in this area, they would loop through here and have lunch with Mother.”

Mal Moore’s long-time assistant, Judy Tanner, and Townsend went through everything Moore had saved through the years, Frank Moore said.

“They went through everything he had,” he said. “They found memorabilia even the University didn’t have.”

For instance, he had saved a gift from the first Liberty Bowl in Memphis – a transistor radio.

“I doubt if any of the players now would know what that was,” Frank Moore said.

“He also had photos from day one that nobody knew he had.”

Frank Moore once joked that he and Mal both played football because they thought going to practice would get them out of farm chores. But their interest in athletics went deeper than that.

“Our mother was interested in sports,” he recalled. “She played basketball in high school. Dad was a baseball player. They didn’t have football at the school when he came along.

“We’ve had athleticism in our family as far back as I can remember,” he said, citing cousins who played football, coached football, and played baseball.

In the book, Mal Moore recalled older brother Frank being a football star, and how excited he was when his big brother walked down the hall.

Frank Moore later walked on to the baseball team at Auburn, and was also asked to walk on the football team.

The book also details Mal Moore’s experience as part of Bryant’s first football team; a near-death experience he had on a summer job in Andalusia in 1960, where Coach Bryant had gotten Moore and teammates Dan Pitts and Ashton Wells jobs; his coaching years; and the hiring of Nick Saban as ‘Bama’s head coach, saying his nephew, Chuck, was instrumental in the process.

The book includes a forward written by Coach Saban.

“It’s a great book,” Frank Moore said.

Proceeds go to the Mal and Charlotte Moore Chrimson Heart Foundation, which supports charities that were important to the Moores.

Charlotte Moore died in 2010 after a 20-year battle with Alzheimer’s; Mal Moore died in 2013 of lung disease, less than a month after leaving the helm of UA athletics.

The book was released in December, and recently became available locally at Harold’s.