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Alabama AD Bill Battle to take Medical Leave of Absence

'Bama's athletic director to undergo stem cell replacement therapy

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Former Tennessee head football coach and current Alabama athletic director Bill Battle announced that he will be taking a medical leave of absence due to Stage 1 multiple myeloma, a cancer that affects the production of normal blood cells.

Battle, who became Alabama's AD following the death of Mal Moore, played for Bear Bryant on Bryant's first national championship team in Tuscaloosa in 1961. He later coached Tennessee to a 59-22-2 record from 1970-1976.

Multiple myeloma is a treatable disease which, in Battle's case, was caught early on. He will be treated at the Winship Cancer Center at Emory University in Atlanta for two weeks, where he will undergo stem cell replacement therapy. During this time, Battle has stated that he will be able to keep a regular correspondence with his administrators.

Since taking over as athletic director, Battle has overseen a continuing growth of athletics outside the football program. His most notable hire since taking over in 2013 was of current men's basketball coach, Avery Johnson. He, also, recently replaced outgoing baseball coach Mitch Gespard with former Louisiana Tech coach Greg Goff.

Battle certainly arrived at the Capstone during a renaissance of sorts for the football program. Prior to his arrival, head coach Nick Saban led the Tide to three national championships. Since, the team has won one additional title, including two consecutive playoff appearances.

Team Speed Kills wishes Battle a speedy recovery.