The excitement kicked off with our gymnastics team beating Florida on Friday night in a down-to-the-wire contest that ultimately required our two seniors, Diandra Milliner and Kim Jacob, each scoring 9.85 in the final event of the evening to bring home the victory.
Bill Battle playing at Alabama, coaching at Tennessee
William R. "Bill" Battle is in his second year as Director of Athletics at The University of Alabama. Battle took over the job on Friday, March 22, 2013, succeeding Mal Moore who had held the position since November, 1999. Battle joined the Crimson Tide after a career as a college football coach and entrepreneur that was consistently hallmarked by innovation and foresight.
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. 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 holds a bachelor's degree from The University of Alabama and a master's degree from The University of Oklahoma. 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.
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 seasons 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 by in the Coaches' poll.
Battle began 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.
A 1981 inductee into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, Battle was inducted as the first member of 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 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.