Alabama AD Bill Battle discusses fighting cancer, Nick Saban’s salary and Iron Bowl 2016

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Bill Battle took over as athletic director at Alabama on March 22, 2013.

Iron Bowl 2016 falls in Battle’s final year of a four year contract. He’s always done a good job of staying out of the spotlight–every good AD does that–that’s why last summer, everyone was shocked to hear he had cancer–multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow. Battle had been fighting cancer for two years, took a leave of absence in June 2015, returned a few weeks later, and is now cancer free.

Battle sat down this week with CBS42 Sports Director Chris Breece to talk about football, life and much more.

The first topic, of course, was the one that thrust Battle into the spotlight. After successfully keeping it a secret for two years, Battle explained why he kept it quiet for so long, and what led to him letting everyone know.

Battle said the cancer itself wasn’t bothering me, and he didn’t think it was anyone else’s business but his. After his cancer was in remission, his doctors advised him to undergo a bone marrow transplant.

Battle said the treatment was what affected him the most in terms of side effects. The cancer wasn’t bad, but he joked he would be pretty upset if the treatment killed him and not the cancer. In fact, that treatment is what led him to reveal what he had been going through for the past two years.

“When I came out with no hair, I knew that everybody would know something was going on,” Battle reflected.

Battle and I talked for a good while, about much more than his experience with cancer. We discussed Nick Saban’s salary–now that he’ll no longer be the highest paid college football coach in the country, what does Battle think?

Turns out, the number itself isn’t the priority: Nick and Terri Saban’s happiness is.

You don’t want to miss this one-one-one interview with Battle. Watch the whole thing in the video above.

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