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Mal Moore received a promotion to Alabama's athletics director in 1999.
AP photo
Mal Moore received a promotion to Alabama's athletics director in 1999.

Alabama's Mal loses at the polls
Almost 90 percent who responded to Daily's poll say he should go

By Steve Stewart
steve@decaturdaily.com 340-2444

University of Alabama athletics director Mal Moore, who fired football coach Mike Shula, would be gone himself if most people who answered an online poll had their way.

Nine in 10 respondents to the unscientific poll responded yes to the question, "Is it time for Mal Moore to go?"

Of 551 people who voted at www.decaturdaily.com, 491 (89.1 percent) said yes and 60 said no. The two-day poll ended Friday. People could vote from anywhere.

"I would love to see Mal Moore out and 'the money people' who paid the $4 million to buy out Shula's contract put up another $4 million, get down on their hands and knees, and beg Mike to come back," wrote Kathleen Tylander Wolfe of Jupiter, Fla., a 1967 graduate of Alabama.

"So far, all that has been accomplished is the fattening of (coaches') paychecks at West Virginia, South Carolina and Oklahoma," she said by e-mail. "I can't imagine who would be desperate enough to take a job that starts out on the hot seat, stays on the hot seat, has an awesome season leading to a contract extension including millions, and then is sent packing because he 'can't beat Auburn.' "

Shula struggled against the Tigers with four losses in four years.

Wolfe, who was a teacher for 34 years, said it might have been smart to bring in an experienced person to give Shula constructive criticism and a chance to succeed.

David Harris of Hartselle said Alabama should have given Shula at least one more year. Alabama had endured limited scholarships recently under NCAA sanctions, Harris said, although "maybe Shula should have replaced his offensive coach." He noted that Shula's 2006 record was 6-6, but Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, one of those mentioned as his replacement, has a worse career record of 29-41.

Charles Reynolds of Decatur offered a suggestion for the current coaching search.

"Mal should consider hiring himself," Reynolds wrote. "He would then be the head coach, which after four or less years he could then fire himself, unless he beat Auburn and Mississippi State. That would mean a contract extension and a raise."

Johnny Stamps of Hartselle said, "Yes, get rid of Mal. If I could convince 29,999 fans not to show up at the stadium or buy tickets, maybe we could send a monetary message to UA."

But Pierce Baldwin of Arrington, Tenn., cautioned against blaming Moore.

"All the people who voted yes may have little footballs for brains!" Baldwin wrote. "Two of the coaches with the worst results (Shula and Mike DuBose) played for Alabama. Mal was trying to please all the fans. Let him do his job.

"Now, who was to blame for not hiring Bobby (Bowden) in the '80s? It wasn't Mal. I've been an Alabama fan from the '50s, and I do believe that the biggest problem at Alabama could be seen by looking in the mirror. I hope he gets Johnson (Navy coach Paul Johnson)."

Johnson has had four straight winning seasons at Navy, including a 10-2 mark this year.

Eight weeks ago, online poll respondents defended Shula in response to a similar question: "Is it time for Shula to go?"

That poll, also unscientific, brought the largest response of any conducted by The Daily. Of 1,468 readers who responded, 1,204 (82 percent) answered no.

Mal Moore's coaching hires

  • Dennis Franchione:Hired after the 2000 season. Left for Texas A&Mafter going 17-8 in two seasons.

  • Mike Price:Hired in December 2002. Fired in May 2003 for actions that included a trip to a topless bar inPensacola, Fla.

  • Mike Shula:Fired on Nov. 26 after going 26-23 in four seasons.

  • To Be Announced:Moore still is looking for Shula's successor.

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