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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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Wizards at Heat Game: TV Channel, Live Stream, how to watch

Wizards at Heat Game: TV Channel, Live Stream, how to watch

Thursday’s 119-113 victory over the 76ers was by far the best victory the Wizards have had this season.

Davis Bertans was hot shooting 7-for-10 from three. He even set a career high of 25 points in 27 minutes.  

Miami, on the hand struggled Wednesday night and fell short to Boston 112-93. 

Who will get the victory Friday ngiht? Tune in to find out. 

WIZARDS at HEAT HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards at Heat, Game 21

Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL

When: Friday, December 6, at 8:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards at Heat will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards at Heat on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS at HEAT TV SCHEDULE

7:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

7:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

8:00 PM: Wizards at Heat (LIVE)

10:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)

11:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

11:30 PM: Wizards Talk (LIVE)

WIZARDS at HEAT INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: John Wall (OUT, Left Achilles rehab), Ian Mahinmi (OUT, Right Achilles strain), C.J. Miles (OUT, Wrist), Thomas Bryant (OUT, foot), Isaiah Thomas (OUT, Calf)

Heat: Justise Winslow (OUT, Back), Goran Dragic (OUT, Groin), KZ Okpala (OUT, Achilles), Udonis Haslem (OUT, Illness)

WIZARDS at HEAT PLAYERS TO WATCH

Davis Bertans, PF, (13.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.7 app, ): Bertans went off in the first half against the 76ers shooting 6-for-6 from deep to get 22 points going into halftime. Bertans finished Thursday nights game with a season high of 25 points, one rebound, one steal and seven 3 pointers within 37 minutes.

Ish Smith, G, Wizards (8 ppg, 3 rpg, 3.9 apg): With IT out Ish Smith stepped up to the plate dishing out a season high of eight assists with 19 points and one rebound in 34 minutes in Thursday nights win over the 76ers. Smith is averaging

Jimmy Butler, G, Wizards (20.1 ppg, 6 rpg, 6.5 apg): Jimmy Butler was on fire in Miami’s 112-93 loss to Celtics on Wednesday. Butler made 12-of-18 from the field and set a season high of 37 points.

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Davis Bertans reinforces status as Wizards' best offseason addition in win over 76ers

Davis Bertans reinforces status as Wizards' best offseason addition in win over 76ers

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards beat the Philadelphia 76ers 119-113 on Thursday night at Capital One Arena. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

1. The Wizards entered this season with the understanding they probably wouldn't make the playoffs. They wanted to play hard and be a team capable of pulling off upsets on nights their effort and scrappy play caught opponents off guard.

They wanted to have games like they had on Thursday night. For the first time this season, the Wizards jumped all over a very good team and held on for a victory.

The Wizards took out the Sixers 119-113 for what is so far their signature win of the season. Philly is one of the best teams in the East at 15-7 and it was mostly healthy, unlike the Wizards.

Washington snapped a three-game skid as it now flies to Miami for battle with the Heat, who may be the surprise team of the NBA so far this season with a 15-6 record.

2. Though it's not showing in the standings, the Wizards did a nice job in the offseason in flipping their roster and creating long-term financial flexibility. Their most impressive move may have been trading for Davis Bertans.

Bertans was essentially stolen from the San Antonio Spurs for Aaron White, who was likely to never play for the Wizards. And all Bertans has done is thrive in an expanded role with the green light to shoot as often as he wants.

Bertans was lights-out on Thursday with 25 points on 9-for-16 shooting. He set a career high with seven threes, going 7-for-13 from the perimeter. Bertans had 20 points and was 6-for-6 from three in the first half, tying his previous career high for makes.

As I've mentioned before, Bertans is going to be a commodity come the trade deadline and that is going to force a tough decision for the Wizards, whether to trade him or keep him and try to work out an extension in the offseason. If they are offered a first-round pick, it will be hard to pass up.

But there is an argument either way to hold on to him because he is such a good shooter. Just imagine how well he would fit with John Wall.

3. Rookie Rui Hachimura also had a huge game in what was his first career meeting with the Sixers. He popped off for 15 points in the second quarter and ended up with 27 points and six boards.

Hachimura did all of this while dealing with Al Horford and Joel Embiid down low and guarding those guys on the other end. He also spent some time checking Tobias Harris, so there was a lot on his plate.

Hachimura got many of his points with his bread-and-butter midrange game. He made one three and found trouble getting around Embiid at the rim. 

Hachimura took what the defense gave him and it worked. There were several occasions where defenders just let him take long twos and he made them.

Head coach Scott Brooks was just talking pregame about why the Wizards are okay with him living in the midrange, if that's what he is most comfortable with at this point. Good timing with those comments.

Hachimura, by the way, is averaging 22 points over his last four games while shooting 54.4 percent from the field (37-for-68).

4. The Wizards shared some good news on the injury front before the game as both of their backup centers returned. Moe Wagner, who was nursing a left ankle injury, came back after missing two games. And Ian Mahinmi made his season debut after missing two-plus months with an Achilles strain.

Wagner was put in the starting lineup due to Thomas Bryant's absence and, though he did not have his usual scoring numbers, he did what he could to bother Embiid and give the Wizards energy. Wagner finished with five points and 11 rebounds.

Mahinmi played surprisingly well, all things considered. He had some bad moments, some due to rust. Be he did a solid job guarding Embiid, which is no easy task. The Wizards also helped him out with double teams.

The best part of Mahinmi's night, though, was right when he checked in. He has developed a reputation for getting in foul trouble and, sure enough, he got one on his very first play.

5. Though the Wizards got two players back from injury on Thursday, they also lost two. Jordan McRae will be out a few weeks after having a second surgery on his right ring finger. And, in a bigger surprise, starting point guard Isaiah Thomas was a late scratch with a left calf strain.

The Thomas one is a newly disclosed injury and at this point it's unclear if he will miss any more time. But it was enough for him to sit after he had played in 17 straight.

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