Bill Battle: Q & A with Alabama's athletics director
by Marq Burnett
May 19, 2013 | 4392 views |  0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bill Battle says that for now he is satisfied with the facility for Alabama's men's basketball team. (Photo courtesy of the University of Alabama)
Bill Battle says that for now he is satisfied with the facility for Alabama's men's basketball team. (Photo courtesy of the University of Alabama)
ATLANTA -- Alabama athletics director Bill Battle spoke with reporters Thursday afternoon at Turner Field before coach Nick Saban’s latest Crimson Caravan stop. Among other things, Battle discussed the possibilities the Southeastern Conference television network will bring, along with the Crimson Tide's new women’s basketball coach, Kristy Curry.

Question: SEC meetings are coming up later this month and this will be your first time dealing with that. Have you had time to study the agenda at all?

Battle: I have. We had a two-day athletic director meeting at Amelia Island (Jacksonville, Fla.) last week or ten days ago. We went over the agenda. We talked about the new SEC television network, some bowl game initiatives and some other legislative initiatives that are on the agenda. So we got a fair heads up of what’s coming.

Question: What’s the biggest thing that has your attention?

Battle: Obviously, the SEC network. The potential there is great. It’s premature to really know or to think about how much it really is, or to have a feel for what it is. I know the goals are aggressive. ESPN and the Southeastern Conference form a formidable partnership so the expectations and the goals are high and aggressive, but we’re 16 months out. We’re a long way from launch, but it’s pretty exciting to think about.

Question: Did they give you a preview while you were in Jacksonville, Fla.?

Battle: They talked about a thousand hours of live programming, 450 linear and 550 on digital media, then the 24/7 programming. They are working with each individual institution on their production, and they said, “If you produce it, we’ll air it.” So that’s an interesting concept. They are pretty bullish on what they think they might be able to do in the 11 state SEC footprint, and they believe there’s a market outside of the footprint.

Question: Do you have the facilities to create your own content, or is that something you look to expand?

Battle: I think we may be ahead of the game. We have that new media center that’s going into the stadium and it’s state-of-the-art. We have, as I understand it, wired every venue, so I think we’re in pretty good shape from a production standpoint.

Question:You introduced the new women’s basketball coach Thursday. How does it feel to have that process out of the way and to be able to move forward?

Battle: It felt great. Kristy Curry was a great choice for us. We didn’t know if she’d be interested in the job, but she was high on our list. Early on, we found out she was interested. My conversations with her were very positive. She’s a neat lady. She’s a really outstanding coach. She’s proven that in the Big 12 and Big Ten. She, her husband and two daughters will be great assets to the community. They’re a hardworking family, both on the court and off.

Question: What’s being talked about with the baseball stadium?

Battle: There are a couple of options that we’re discussing. There’s a renovation option that has been pretty impressive. There’s still an option for a new stadium. We recognize there’s a need to improve and that’s in our plans to do.

Question: Is there a timetable set for the baseball stadium?

Battle: No. We’re following the lead of our board. We hope to get it back on the table hopefully in the next two to five years.

Question: Beyond that, what’s next on the list for facilities?

Battle: There’s a rowing facility that’s pretty high on the list. [Rowing and baseball] are the two primary facilities on our list other than the ones we have going on right now.

Question: Are you satisfied with Coleman Coliseum as a long-term basketball venue?

Battle: Right now, I think the answer is yes. There’s been some talk about whether Foster [Auditorium] is the right venue for women’s basketball, and we think it is right now. Our goal is to outgrow Foster. If we outgrow Coleman, we’ll address that when the time comes. We have a ways to go before we get there.
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