University of Alabama athletics director Bill Battle will move on from his current role to become a Special Assistant to the President.

The school announced the news on Sunday night.

“It's been a distinct privilege and honor serving as Director of Athletics these last four years," said Battle. "When I took over this role my wife, Mary, and I made a commitment to serving four years and I am pleased to have been able to do just that. There are so many people in the department who do a great job every day to make the Crimson Tide successful. I am deeply grateful to each and every one of them for their extraordinary efforts and loyalty to the University. Being able to lead this department has been an honor and a privilege for which I am most grateful.”

Cecil Hurt of The Tuscaloosa News first reported the unexpected news on Twitter.

Battle took over for the late Mal Moore back in 2013 and served the university for four years. During that time, he had to replace longtime gymnastics coach Sara Patterson, hired Kristy Curry, and brought in Greg Goff to replace baseball coach Mitch Gaspard, but his most notable hire was Alabama men's basketball coach Avery Johnson.

The 75-year-old received treatment for multiple myeloma last summer, but returned to work before the football season began. He continues to attend Crimson Tide sporting events with near-perfect attendance despite the health issues.

"I want everyone to know that my health was not a factor in this decision as, at this time, I am in full remission and I feel great. When I came here in 2013, I committed to Dr. Witt that I would be here for four years, or the equivalent of another college degree. Last summer, before my medical procedure, I told Dr. Bell that I was expecting, as were my doctors, to come through that procedure very well, and that I intended to serve out the last year of my contract."

The school appears to have his replacement in place already. According to Greg Hansen of the Arizona Daily Star, Arizona Wildcats AD Greg Byrne will take the same position in Tuscaloosa.

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