Former Alabama athletic director Bill Battle hospitalized after COVID-19 diagnosis

Former Alabama athletic director Bill Battle has been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19. 

In a statement released through the Alabama athletic department on Friday night, Battle, 78, said he is in stable condition and is “resting comfortably” at UAB Medical Center in Birmingham. 

“I appreciate the prayers and well-wishes from so many, and want to let you know that I’m stable and resting comfortably,” Battle said. “I’ve got great doctors and nurses at UAB looking after me and expect to make a full recovery. Time and patience are important in the meantime.”

Battle played football at Alabama in the early 1960’s under head coach Bear Bryant and later went on to become the head coach at Tennessee from 1970 to 1976. He compiled a record of 59-22-2 during his time in Knoxville. 

Bill Battle, left, served as Alabama's athletic director from 2013 to 2017. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

Battle became the athletic director at Alabama in 2013, replacing the late Mal Moore. Battle took a leave of absence in June 2016 to address a cancer diagnosis. He returned to work a few months later before announcing his retirement in January 2017. At the time, Battle’s cancer was in remission and he said his health did not factor into his decision to retire. 

Since then, Battle transitioned into another role at Alabama, serving as a special assistant to school president Stuart R. Bell. When Battle retired, Alabama hired Greg Byrne from Arizona as the school’s new athletic director. 

Byrne, in a Friday night tweet, wished Battle well. 

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