BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- Bill Clark, who guided Jacksonville State to a record-setting season in 2013 and the highest NCAA Division I final ranking in school history, has been named head football coach at UAB, Blazers’ Director of Athletics Brian Mackin announced Wednesday.
Clark becomes the fifth head coach in UAB history and replaces Garrick McGee who resigned his position Jan. 9.
Clark will bring a wealth of coaching experience to the Blazers, both at the collegiate and high school levels.He has more than 20 years of experience, having spent the past year as the head coach at Jacksonville State.Prior to taking the helm of the Gamecocks’ program, Clark was assistant head coach and the defensive coordinator at South Alabama.Prior to joining the Jaguars’ staff, he was one of the most successful high school coaches in the State of Alabama.
“We had a tremendous amount of interest in our head football coach position, but when we looked at all of the outstanding candidates and after meeting with a number of them, we all felt that Bill Clark is absolutely the best fit for our program,” Mackin said.“Coach Clark has a proven track record with success at both the collegiate and high school levels, and we feel he brings the experience to help us continue to grow our football program.
Clark led the Gamecocks to an 11-4 record last season, 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 is 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.
Jacksonville State 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 last season and nine selected for All-Ohio Valley Conference accolades.
“We are excited and ready to go,” Clark said of the opportunity at UAB.“There is tons of work to do and we’re ready to take that on.This is not about me, it’s about the team and coming together to work hard to be successful.The kids will embrace the guys (coaches) we are bringing over.We are coming here as a destination to make this program great.”
Clark became the Jacksonville State 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 per game and 254.6 yards per game and went 10-0.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 the nation 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 (18) and son Jacob (16).
THE BILL CLARK FILE
Personal Family: Wife, Jennifer; One daughter, Katie (18) and one son, Jacob (16) Born: June 28, 1968, at Anniston, Ala.
Education Jacksonville State, 1990, Bachelor’s degree in physical education
Coaching Experience Piedmont High School – Assistant Coach, 1990-91 Tuscaloosa County High School – Assistant Coach, 1992-94 Coffee County (Ga.) High School – Assistant Coach, 1995-96 Dothan High School – Assistant Coach, 1997-98 Prattville High School – Head Coach, 1999-2007 South Alabama – Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator, 2008-12 Jacksonville State – Head Coach, 2013 UAB – Head Coach, 2014