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Former Irish coaches pass away

Observer Staff Report | Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A pair of former Irish coaches passed away last weekend.

Legendary former Irish fencing coach Michael “Mike” DeCicco, who led Notre Dame to five national championships and gave 41 years of service to the University, died Friday at the age of 85. Former Notre Dame assistant football coach Mal M. Moore, who coached from 1983 to 1985 under then-head coach Gerry Faust, died Saturday at the age of 73.

DeCicco was the head coach for 34 years and retired in 1995 with a remarkable 680-45 (.938) career coaching record. In addition to five national titles, DeCicco’s teams compiled 12 undefeated seasons and a 122-match winning streak over six seasons.

DeCicco was born in 1927 in Newark, N.J., and enrolled as a freshman at Notre Dame in 1945. He graduated in 1949 after fencing in the foil, sabre and epee for the Irish, compiling a 63-20 career record.

After graduating, DeCicco returned to New Jersey to work on his master’s degree. He later returned to Notre Dame in 1954 to finish his doctorate. Then, in 1962 after serving as an assistant coach to Walter Langford, DeCicco became the head coach of the Irish.

In 1964, DeCicco founded the academic advising program, the first of its kind, at the behest of then-executive vice president Fr. Edmund Joyce.

DeCicco developed the women’s team into one of Notre Dame’s first varsity sports for women in 1977 and coached the women’s contingent until 1986. 

DeCicco retired from coaching after the 1995 season. In 2009, he received the Moose Krause Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor given by the Monogram Club.

DeCicco died of congestive heart failure at Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame. He is survived by his wife, the former Polly Romeo, and his five children: Linda, Della, Nick, Michelle and Mike.

Moore coached the Irish running backs for all three of his seasons at Notre Dame. He also served as the assistant head coach in his final two years. 

Moore was born in 1939 and entered the University of Alabama in 1958. He played on the football squad under legendary coach Paul W. “Bear” Bryant from 1958 to 1962 and earned an undergraduate degree in sociology. Moore then went on to serve as an assistant coach to Bryant. 

Moore coached for 31 years, 22 of them at Alabama. He later served as the director of athletics at Alabama from 1999 to 2013. Moore was a part of 10 national championship football teams as a player, coach and athletic director. In 2007, the University officially dedicated the facility formerly known as The Football Building as the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility. 

During his stint as director of athletics, Alabama also produced national titles in gymnastics, softball and women’s golf. 

A native of Dozier, Ala., Moore was married to Charlotte Davis of Tuscaloosa for 41 years before she passed in 2010. He is survived by one daughter, Heather Cook of Scottsdale, Ariz., a granddaughter, Anna Lee, and a grandson, Charles Cannon.