We’re confident Mal Moore was a good administrator at Alabama but there’s no way anyone deserved the Athletic Director of the Year award more than Tom Jurich of the University of Louisville.
Moore, who succumbed to pulmonary problems in March, was honored by Sports Business Daily during ceremonies Wednesday in New York.
The test, as far we’re concerned, is whether an individual could have achieved what Jurich has done at UofL. He has literally transformed the athletic program into one of the strongest, with some of the best facilities in the country, with nowhere near the resources Moore enjoyed at Alabama.
Alabama had some significant accomplishments under Moore, including BCS national championships in 2012 and 2013. The school also won national honors in women’s softball, golf and gymnastics in 2011-12. A school blessed with the advantage of a tremendous state following, along with significant political and financial resources.
Jurich’s accomplishments, on the other hand, have been achieved largely with local support and creative approaches, overcoming monumental political and financial challenges. He was confronted with the very real possibility of UofL being left out of the BCS picture altogether.
Just this past year, he almost single-handedly engineered the school’s entry into the Atlantic Coast Conference. His basketball team won a national championship, the women were national runners up, and the football team won a BCS Sugar Bowl.
This leads us to suspect the Sports Business Daily selection was designed to honor Moore for his lifetime achievements, as opposed to what was accomplished over the past year. Even when compared on a long-term basis, however, we would still have to go with Jurich, trusting he would be honored while he’s still with us.
Few athletic directors could have faced as many challenges and achieved as much as Jurich has at UofL