Christopher Smith

UAB Hires Bill Clark From FCS Ranks

Created on Jan. 22, 2014 4:17 PM EST

UAB finally named a coach after cycling through what seemed like a few dozen names during its search, reported Tuesday.

The Blazers will hire Jacksonville State coach Bill Clark to replace Garrick McGee, who left to accept the Louisville offensive coordinator job without meeting with his players after a 2-10 season.

Clark has climbed up the Alabama coaching rungs quickly since presenting about the only challenge to the Hoover High School football dynasty in the state in the last decade. He won two 6A state titles while coaching at Prattville High School, winning his final 30 games and finishing the 2007 season ranked No. 2 in the country. He then became South Alabama's defensive coordinator for five seasons as the Jaguars transitioned into FBS, leading the Sun Belt in total defense in 2012.

In his first season as a college head coach, he led Jacksonville State to an 11-4 record and the FCS quarterfinals as the Gamecocks broke all sorts of school and conference records. JSU also defeated fellow FCS member and Alabama school Samford University, former home of Bobby Bowden and currently coached by Heisman Trophy quarterback Pat Sullivan, by a wide margin in the playoffs.

That was enough to get him the keys to the biggest football school in the state outside of Alabama and Auburn (all due respect to Troy State).

"We're very proud for Bill and the success that he had at Jacksonville State," Jacksonville State president Dr. Bill Meehan said in a statement. "He is a JSU grad and we are excited about his personal success and we are grateful for the success he brought to the Gamecocks this year."

Clark will have a difficult time at UAB, if history is any indication. Governed by the same board of trustees that oversees the University of Alabama, UAB's program is riddled with problems and has been for years. If Clark can somehow succeed with the Blazers, however, he'll almost certainly get a chance to coach a bigger program someday.

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