With today's donation, Culverhouse has given $2.5 million to Crimson Tide Athletics, and if those funds are matched, this gift will result in a total of $5 million toward funding endowed scholarships for female student-athletes at The Capstone
Bill Battle playing at Alabama, coaching at Tennessee
William R. "Bill" Battle recently is in his fourth year as Director of Athletics at The University of Alabama. Since taking the job on March 22, 2013, (succeeding the late Mal Moore, who had held the position since November 1999), Battle has not only maintained Alabama's unparalleled athletics success, but also has placed increased focus on the primary mission of Alabama Athletics: to recruit and develop student-athletes to compete at the highest levels in intercollegiate athletics, to educate and prepare student-athletes to compete at the highest levels in life after graduation, and to accomplish both with honor and integrity.
Battle took the job as Director of Athletics at Alabama after a career as a college football coach and entrepreneur that was consistently hallmarked by innovation and foresight. During Battle's tenure, Alabama has produced two NCAA team national championships (men's golf in 2014 and football in 2015); ten SEC team championships in five different sports (two in football, gymnastics, men's golf, and women's golf, one in softball and women's tennis); 16 NCAA individual champions; 34 Academic All-Americans (leading the nation in that category in both 2013-14 and 2014-15); and 16 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship awardees.
Battle's vision has impacted the Alabama Athletics Department in numerous ways over the last three years, particularly in revitalized fundraising efforts that directly enhance the daily experience of every Crimson Tide student-athlete. Battle spearheaded the redevelopment of Alabama's historic baseball facility, Sewell-Thomas Stadium, transforming an aging facility into one of the nation's most dynamic venues when the stadium opened in February, 2016. He also has led the drive for numerous other facility and departmental improvements, including a new rowing facility and plans for a new aquatics facility. He has increased outreach efforts to keep students, fans, faculty, staff and stakeholders abreast of what is happening in Alabama Athletics.
A native of Birmingham, Ala., Battle attended The University of Alabama on a football scholarship and enjoyed a successful playing career as a three-year starter at end for the Crimson Tide under legendary head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant from 1960-62. Battle was a member of Bryant's first national championship team at Alabama in 1961, and was a three-year starter. Generally regarded as the team's best end throughout his playing career, Battle came to Tuscaloosa after starring in three sports at Birmingham's West End High School.
An excellent student, Battle earned a bachelor's degree in Biology (minor in Psychology) from The University of Alabama in 1963 and a master's degree in Education from The University of Oklahoma in 1964. He was an Academic All-SEC selection as a senior in 1962 and was selected to play in the Senior Bowl all-star game in Mobile, Ala., in January of 1963. He was named first team tight end and second team defensive end on The University of Alabama All Decade Team of the 1960s. Alabama won three national championships in the decade (1961, 1964 and 1965).
Battle entered the coaching profession as a graduate assistant at The University of Oklahoma in 1963 under famed head coach Bud Wilkinson. In 1964 and 1965, he served as an assistant coach at the United States Military Academy while serving a two-year military tour. In 1966, he moved on to the University of Tennessee, where he served as an assistant coach under head coach Doug Dickey for four seasons (1966-69) until he was named head coach of the Volunteers in 1970. When he was named head coach, Battle was the youngest head coach in college football at the age of 28.
During his seven-year tenure as head coach (1970-76), Battle's teams went 59-22-2, finished three seasons ranked in the nation's top 10 among five top-20 finishes and won four out of five bowl games. Battle's Tennessee teams won 11 games once (1970) and at least 10 games in three different seasons (1970, 1971 and 1972). His first Tennessee team finished the season ranked fourth in both national polls. His 1971 team finished ranked ninth in both national polls and the 1972 Tennessee squad finished ranked eighth by the Associated Press and 11th in the coaches' poll.
Battle embarked on a career in the private sector after his coaching career ended. He held various positions within Circle S Industries in Selma, Ala., and served as president of two different companies, as well as vice chairman of the Circle S Holding Company Board. During his six years at Circle S, the organization grew from two companies earning $12 million in annual sales to 10 companies earning $60 million.
Battle founded The Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) in 1981, and served as president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) until 2002. He also served as chairman of the board of Licensing Partners International (LPI), which was created in 2001 to represent the licensing interests of non-collegiate sports properties, as well as corporate and entertainment properties. The companies were sold to IMG in 2007, but he continued as chairman of CLC and consultant to IMG until March of 2013 when he was called back to Alabama.
A 1981 inductee into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, Battle was inducted as the first member of the charter class of the National Collegiate Licensing Association Hall of Fame in 2000. He was the recipient of the 2005 Paul W. Bryant Alumni Athlete Award at The University of Alabama and was inducted into the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association (LIMA) Hall of Fame in 2008.
Battle received a National Football Foundation award in December 2008 for Outstanding Contributions to Amateur Football. In June 2010, Bill was inducted into the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators' (NACMA) Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, receiving its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. He is slated to be inducted into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame in May of 2016. He currently serves on the boards of the Bryant-Jordan Student-Athlete Foundation, The University of Alabama A-Club Educational & Charitable Foundation, the Crimson Tide Foundation, and the National Football Foundation.
Battle's wife, Mary, is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Texas' School of Nursing with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. She earned a Master of Science in healthcare administration from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. For many years Mary worked in the healthcare industry both in the clinical setting and for healthcare corporations that developed and managed physician provider networks including the development of strategically significant relationships with payors and business and industry.
Mary currently serves on the Arthritis Foundation National Board of Directors and is the chairperson of the Arthritis Foundation Leadership Council for the Birmingham market. She is also a member of the Volunteer Engagement Task Team for the Arthritis Foundation. In addition, Mary is an inaugural member of the UAB School of Medicine Board of Visitors and is active in fundraising activities for UAB that support research projects targeting more effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
The Battles are part of UAB's Stem Cell Institute Board and are both active in their support of UAB's Department of Rheumatology. In their leisure time, the Battles enjoy life on their ranch in Georgia. Mary is an avid equestrian while Bill enjoys working on various projects around the ranch.