UAB defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Bill Clay announced today that he will leave the Blazer coaching staff to accept a similar position with Oklahoma State University.
Clay, who was the architect of one of the nation's top defenses in 2000, was a member of the UAB coaching staff for four seasons (1997-2000). A veteran of over 30 years in coaching at the high school, college and professional levels, Clay is considered to be one of the top defensive strategists in college football.
"I appreciate the opportunity Coach Brown gave me to come to UAB four years ago," said Clay.
"Having a chance to be part of the development of a program like this has meant a lot to me personally. You just don't get an opportunity to be part of something like what has happened at UAB very often.
The job I had a UAB is a great job, and I think the UAB program is on great footing to continue its success and be in a bowl game next season. It's hard to leave, but sometimes it comes down to decisions that you have to make -- what's best for you and your family - and going to Oklahoma State is the right choice for me now."
UAB finished the 2000 season with a 7-4 overall record and was ranked 11th in the NCAA Division I-A statistics in total defense (allowing 209.91 yards per game), ninth in scoring (allowing 17.45 points per game), and sixth in rushing defense (allowing 83.55 yards per game). The Blazers rose as high as second in the total defense rankings during the 2000 season.
During Clay's tenure at UAB, four Blazer defensive players went on to the NFL, including defensive backs Dainon Sidney (Tennessee), Izell Reese (Dallas) and Rodregis Brooks (Indianapolis), as well as linebacker Brian Smith (Atlanta).
"We will miss Bill, but at the same time I'm excited for him," said UAB Head Coach Watson Brown.
"He has done an outstanding job here at UAB. We wish him the best."
Brown said that the search for a new defensive coordinator will begin immediately, but emphasized that he will be deliberate.
"I will take my time in the process and do what's best for us. This is a good job and there will be people interested in it."