Head Coach Bill Clark made it evident he was dedicated to rebuilding UAB football into a nationally recognizable program.
Clark will lead the Blazers out of the tunnel for their return to the football field on September 2, 2017 against Alabama A&M, just as he did in UAB’s last game, a 45-24 victory at Southern Miss on November 29, 2014.
In Clark’s first season as head coach of the Blazers in 2014, he turned around a program that was 2-10 the year before into a team that finished 6-6 and earned bowl eligibility for the first time since 2004. For his efforts, he was named the 2014 C-USA Coach of the Year by the league’s media.
Clark’s loyalty to the program has been paid back by the UAB Department of Athletics, Board of Trustees, donors and the city of Birmingham, as the Blazers plan to break ground on a $22 million on-campus Football Operations Center in August of 2016.
Clark also proved that UAB will be a contender from the moment the Blazers return to the field in 2017 as he signed the No. 2 rated recruiting class in Conference USA in 2016.
In 2014, the Blazers had a school record 15 players earn All-Conference USA honors, including three first team selections (RB Jordan Howard, DE Diaheem Watkins and KR J.J. Nelson). Nelson was also named the school’s first Walter Camp First Team All-American.
The Blazers also experienced the second-highest increase nationally in home attendance average, increasing by more than 130 percent.
Prior to UAB, Clark was the head coach at Jacksonville State in 2013 and led the Gamecocks to an 11-4 record, their most victories since the 1992 campaign when JSU won the NCAA Division II National Championship. That number set an Ohio Valley Conference record and was also the most wins by a first-year head coach.
Jacksonville State earned an at-large berth in the FCS Playoffs and captured two victories -- including a second round win over No. 6 McNeese State -- to reach the quarterfinals. The wins were the Gamecocks' first-ever in the NCAA Division I playoffs.
JSU concluded the 2013 season ranked No. 10 in the final FCS poll. The Gamecocks, who ranked sixth in the nation in FCS attendance, set 49 school records in 2013 and broke 13 OVC marks, as well as three NCAA records. JSU had two players earn All-America honors and nine selected for All-Ohio Valley Conference accolades.
Clark became Jacksonville State’s head coach after five outstanding seasons at South Alabama as the Jaguars' defensive coordinator.
Clark's defense at USA finished second in the Sun Belt Conference in total defense in 2012 as the Jaguars completed their first full season of competition in the league. South Alabama posted the best record of any Division I FCS Independent in 2011 after winning the first 17 games in the program's history in 2009 and 2010.
During the 2010 season, South Alabama allowed only 13 points and 254.6 yards per game en route to a 10-0 record. In 2009, the Jags allowed only 5.9 points and 234 yards per game when the defense forced 25 sacks and forced 23 turnovers in only seven games.
Clark joined South Alabama in 2008 after spending nine years as head coach at Prattville (Ala.) High School where he led the Lions to national prominence. He won a pair of Class 6A State Championships as his last two teams won 30 straight games, while the 2007 squad was ranked No. 2 in USA Today's national high school poll.
Following his final season at Prattville High School, he was named the Alabama High School Athletic Association Coach of the Year and was also selected as the Schutt Southeast Regional Coach of the Year.
He first led the Lions to the Class 6A state playoffs in 2000, his second season guiding the program. Clark earned his first postseason victory a year later, helping Prattville advance to the quarterfinals before falling to the eventual state champion, which is where the Lions' season would end each of the next two falls.
Prattville made its first state championship game appearance under Clark in 2004, with the team allowing three touchdowns in four postseason contests, including a pair of shutouts. The Lions advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2005 playoffs before dropping a two-point decision as well.
Clark posted a 107-11 (90.7 percent) overall record during his tenure, suffering his last regular-season loss during the second week of the 2002 season.
Clark served on the staff of the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic three times, including as head coach in the summer of 2007. He also served as head coach in the 2004 North-South All-Star Game. Clark began his coaching career as an assistant at Piedmont High School (1990-91) and also has coaching stints at Tuscaloosa County High School (1992-94), Coffee County (Ga.) High School (1995-96) and Dothan High School (1997-98).
He graduated from Jacksonville State in 1990 with a degree in physical education. Clark and his wife, Jennifer, have two children: daughter, Katie and son Jacob.