High Tide: Alabama AD Bill Battle Reveling In New Challenge In Tuscaloosa
New Alabama AD Bill Battle was lured from retirement five months ago and now is "reveling in the challenge," according to Mark McCarter of the HUNTSVILLE TIMES. Battle said, "It was either gonna keep me young or it was gonna kill me. I really believe it'll keep me young." After leaving as Tennessee football coach in '76, Battle "went into private business and ultimately formed Collegiate Licensing Corporation, which he ran for 27 years before selling it" for more than $100M to IMG in '07. Battle said, "Six months ago, if you would have told me I'd be here tonight speaking to you as athletic director of the University of Alabama, I would have thought you might be crazy. Being an athletic director was never anything I aspired to be. I never thought it was a very fun job. I've learned it isn't a very fun job. I've also learned it's a great job." He added, "They thought I could help. I thought about it. I was pretty healthy. I was rested. I hadn't worked very hard the last several years." Battle: "The main thing I've thought about the last several years about going to football games is how bad is the traffic gonna be, was parking gonna be a problem and was my hot dog gonna be cold. Now I've gotta think about being responsible for 125,000 people coming to a 101,000-seat stadium and everybody's problems with traffic and parking and cold hot dogs, putting on the game and getting people home safely" (HUNTSVILLE TIMES, 8/29).
GETTING BORED WITH TITLES? ESPN's Israel Gutierrez said of a report that 30% of UA student tickets went unused last year, "I'm disappointed in the Alabama fan base. ... What are you doing in Tuscaloosa that's more important than going to the Alabama games?" But Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said, "I don't buy this 30 percent of the tickets went unused. Those stands are full, those people love Alabama" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 8/27).