Nationals

Alabama AD made a brief stop at Notre Dame

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Alabama AD made a brief stop at Notre Dame

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) Mal Moore's career was adrift.

A quarter century of winning games and titles as an Alabama player and assistant to Bear Bryant had ended, and Moore was passed over to succeed the famed coach.

He was thinking about getting out of the profession altogether before Notre Dame's Gerry Faust called one Sunday morning to gauge his interest in a job.

``At the time, I kind of felt like a man without a country,'' Moore said. ``I was in a strange position that I'd never been in before.''

He flew to South Bend that day for an interview, then served as running backs coach from 1983-85. From one elite program to another and, ultimately, back to his alma mater to stay.

Moore's stopover in northern Indiana is now a footnote in a 50-year career defined by the eras of Bryant, Gene Stallings and now Nick Saban. He has been around for nine national titles at Alabama and is hoping to crack double digits Monday night when the Tide faces No. 1 Notre Dame.

But back in the 1980s, Moore's career moves were the height of intrigue and drama in the college football world.

He was either a player or assistant for Bryant during all but one season of a historic 25-year run. Bryant, who died a couple of months after stepping down following the 1982 season, won 323 games, six national titles and 13 Southeastern Conference championships during his tenure in Tuscaloosa.

When he left, Moore and fellow assistant Ken Donahue interviewed for a job that went to Ray Perkins, then coaching the NFL's New York Giants. And Notre Dame made an attention-getting hire.

``It was considered quite a coup, an amazing coup,'' said Lou Somogyi, senior editor of 247Sports' Notre Dame site and Blue and Gold Illustrated. ``All of a sudden, here's Mal Moore, who's been part of so many national titles with Bear, and he's looking for work.

``Out of the blue, Gerry Faust called him. That was a pretty extraordinary set of circumstances.''

It was also quite an adjustment for a Southern Baptist heading to a Catholic university.

Moore lived for several months in the Morris Inn on campus, where he could step out the door, glance left and see the golden dome. Wife Charlotte, who died in 2010, and daughter Heather moved to South Bend after their home was built.

``It was a good three years,'' said Moore, who had become Alabama's first offensive coordinator in 1975. ``We weren't a great team during that time. We went to two bowl games, but it was quite an experience. Especially for Charlotte. Charlotte was Catholic growing up. She loved her time there and on the campus.''

Moore then went on to coaching stops in the NFL before returning to his alma mater as Stallings' offensive coordinator in 1990, helping the Tide to a national title two years later. He's been athletic director since 1999, hiring Saban from the Miami Dolphins in his best career move. The football and athletic administration building is named after him.

Moore was on the opposite sideline for the first four of six meetings between Notre Dame and Alabama. The Fighting Irish won by one point in 1973, two in 1975 and three in 1976.

Notre Dame's 7-0 win in 1980 broke the pattern of one-point increase in scoring margin.

``Bear Bryant said after the (1976) game: ``I don't think I'm going to be around for the four-pointer,'' Somogyi recalled.

He noted that ``Notre Dame fans were groaning'' after Alabama missed a field goal in `80 that would have created that four-point margin.

Moore and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbuck had several discussions about trying to set up regular-season meetings, perhaps at some neutral site like New York or Orlando.

``We just never could quite pull it off,'' Moore said. After the BCS matchup was set: ``I called him and said, `Jack, you and I couldn't put a game together but now we let the players do it.'''

After ups and downs for both programs, they're once again vying for national supremacy. And Moore, of course, will have a prime view.

His stop at Notre Dame showed him the similarities both programs share. Notre Dame had Knute Rockne and Ara Parseghian, Alabama Wallace Wade and Saban. Both have had five different coaches claim national titles.

Traditions galore.

``A powerful university. Great history, great tradition,'' said Moore, who has talked to several of his former Notre Dame players leading up to the matchup. ``That is what's so similar between the two programs, is the great success that both have enjoyed through the years.

``There's a lot of people that have had success at both universities. The alumni at both expect greatness. This is what here at Alabama I hope never changes. Once it doesn't matter then you are in trouble.''

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WATCH: Juan Soto goes opposite field for his first home run of 2020

WATCH: Juan Soto goes opposite field for his first home run of 2020

On August 8th, Nationals star Juan Soto hit his first home run of the 2020 season. In a normal year, that would be extremely concerning for the Washington brass. But 2020 is the least bit normal.

Soto missed the first eight games of Washington's season after testing positive for the novel coronavirus -- one he and many in the Nats organization think was a false-positive. The left fielder returned to Washington's lineup on Wednesday, and three days later, Soto notched his first long-ball of the 2020 season.

In his first at-bat in Saturday evening's contest against the Beltway foe Orioles, Soto stayed back on a 79 mph changeup from Orioles starter Tom Eshelman, a pitch that stayed over the plate just a bit too much.

The 21-year-old squared the barrel up and muscled the pitch 370 feet the opposite way, with the ball landing just barely over the left field wall about a free throw's length to the right of his family cardboard cutouts.

The home run was Soto's 57th of his career, tying Mickey Mantle for the eighth-most of any player before turning 22 years old. That long ball from the Nats' phenom puts him in quite the company.

Washington took a 1-0 lead on Soto's home run, a game the Nationals desperately need after dropping two straight following a three-game win streak.

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For Native American activists, Washington NFL name change not the end of their fight

For Native American activists, Washington NFL name change not the end of their fight

It took decades for the football team in Washington to remove the derogatory name from FedEx Field, giving local Native Americans  - and those throughout the United States who had long pushed for change - a win in what seemed like an endless fight. 

"With Mr. Snyder, what put the pressure on him to change the name? Money talks and that's what he realizes. And he realizes that he's fighting a losing battle. And that's the bottom line," Chief of the Piscataway Indian Tribe Billy "Redwing" Tayac said to ABC News.

Residing in Accokeek, Maryland, Chief Tayac has been fighting for a name change since the 1980s when he said he was one of the first plaintiffs in legal action aiming to force Washington to choose another name. After the franchise's field sponsor, FedEx, put public pressure on the organization to change its name - coupled with the national protests against racial injustices - Snyder finally gave in. 

While Chief Tayac's trailblazing efforts laid the groundwork necessary to get to today, modern activists like Laguna Pueblo and Omaha Tribe member Mary Phillips continue to fight for justice.

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"And so it's always been, you know [difficult], trying to educate people to understand that this word, this team celebrates actually celebrates the color of my skin by saying that it is red," Phillips said to ABC News' Abby Cruz. "In the grander sense of things, it's so evaporating from people's minds that they don't even realize how racist it really is."

Survivors of generational injustices and discriminatory practices from the United States government, both Chief Tayac and Phillips know the fight isn't over just because the NFL franchise in D.C is now called the Washington Football Team. 

"Whether anybody likes it or not, I'd like to say this is our country. This is where God put us there. And nobody is gonna shove off of it," Chief Tayac said.

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