Under Clay's direction, the Blazers finished the 1997 season ranked ninth in Division I-A in pass efficiency defense; in 1997, UAB also finished the season ranked 33rd among the 112 Division I-A programs in rushing defense.
In his one season at UTEP, Clay took the Miners' defensive unit, which ranked last in the Western Athletic Conference a year earlier, and finished the `96 season ranked second in the WAC and 39th in Division I-A; UTEP was 33rd nationally in pass defense.
Prior to his year at UTEP, Clay was an assistant coach at Mississippi State University for seven years (1989-95), including five years as the defensive coordinator (1991-95). During his tenure with the Bulldogs, the team participated in three post-season bowl games. The defense was third in the nation in takeaways in 1994 and ranked among the top 20 in scoring defense during the 1991 and 1992 seasons.
A veteran of 30 years in collegiate coaching, Clay's resume includes a year as an assistant with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1987). His collegiate coaching includes Virginia Tech (1972), Virginia (1969-71, 1975), South Carolina (1973-74), Southern Mississippi (1976-81), Southern Methodist (1982-86) and Temple (1988). Clay has spent 16 seasons as a defensive coordinator in Division I-A and a total of 25 seasons as a defensive coach. He has participated in eight post-season bowl games, including three with Mississippi State, three with Southern Methodist and two with Southern Mississippi.
At Southern Methodist, the Mustangs were second in the nation in scoring defense in 1983, allowing just 9.9 points per game. The 1982 team went 11-0-1, finished the season ranked second in the nation, and defeated Dan Marino and Pittsburgh, 7-3, in the Cotton Bowl; it was the only game of Marino's collegiate career in which the offense did not score at least one touchdown.
During Clay's two seasons as defensive coordinator at Southern Mississippi, the Golden Eagles' defense was also among the nation's best. In 1980, USM led the nation in scoring defense (8.1 ppg) and was 10th in total defense; a year later, the Golden Eagles were fifth in total defense. USM was among the top 10 teams in pass defense in both of those seasons. The Golden Eagles were 18-5-1 during those two seasons, making post-season bowl appearances each year.
A native of Marianna, Ark., Clay graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1963; he was a two-year letterwinner at tackle for the Razorbacks during his career there. He started his coaching career at Ganby High School in Norfolk, Va., where he coached for four years (1965-68) prior to joining the staff at Virginia.
Clay has two daughters, Amanda, who works with the UAB equipment crew, and Christina Long, a resident of Tallahassee, Fla. Clay and his wife, Marimarlene, reside in Hoover.