Selmains look back on Mal’s influence

Published 9:20 pm Wednesday, April 3, 2013

With the recent passing of former University of Alabama athletic director Mal Moore, those around Selma are among the many across the state and the country reflecting on the life of a Crimson Tide legend.

During his time with the Crimson Tide as a player, coach and an administrator, Moore crossed paths and made connections with a few individuals in Selma.

One of those individuals is Selma-Dallas County Economic Development Authority executive director Wayne Vardaman, who played guard for the Crimson Tide and was recruited by none other than Moore.

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“The first time I met Mal Moore was back in 1965. I was a senior in high school and he was recruiting for the University of Alabama. He had just started out,” Vardaman said. “The one that ended up signing me was Howard Schnellenberger. I knew Mal over the years. When I was there, he was a defensive secondary coach and was really good. Over the years, I knew him and appreciated him more, not just for what he did with athletics because that kind of speaks for itself with all the championships and the facilities he built, but I just respected him so much as a man. He was a very, very good person.”

Vardaman said Moore truly displayed the characteristics of a great person, as evidenced by the care of his wife Charlotte, who died in 2010 after battling with Alzeimer’s since 1990.

“The things he did as far as his wife was concerned are the type things we all need to emulate,” Vardaman said. “He was there to see her on a daily basis and he was very loyal for a long period of time.”

Bob Morrow, an Alabama alumnus and member of the Dallas-Wilcox County Bama Club, came to know Moore during his time as a player.

Morrow said Moore was a kind individual and a true success story at Alabama.

“He was a good guy, very quiet. He was so personable, outgoing and such a wonderful guy to communicate with,” Morrow said. “He was a small-town guy that really did great and succeeded so much. He’s been the most successful athletic director the university has had. It was just amazing to me to be able to know him when he was a student. He was a true gentleman.”

Vardaman will be among the many former Tide players who will attend services and the funeral of Moore on Thursday.

He said he’ll always remember Moore for his character.

“I just remember him being a very good coach, but also just a very good person. I mean, he just had a demeanor about him that you just had a lot of respect for,” Vardaman said. “He just had the highest character, just a good person. I think those things helped him as athletic director.

“Over the years I just had a lot of respect for him. He will be missed and very difficult to replace.”