Jody Wright and Daric Riley will join the UAB football staff, head coach Bill Clark announced on Friday. Wright will serve as the assistant head coach and also coach running backs, while Riley will be UAB's special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach.
Both Wright and Riley come to UAB after serving on Clark's staff at Jacksonville State during the 2013 season. During their time with the Gamecocks, Wright and Riley helped the program to an 11-4 record and an appearance in the NCAA Division I FCS Quarterfinals.
"Jody was with me last year at Jacksonville State, and did a great job for us," Clark said. "He comes from a family that knows football and knows this state. His dad was a long-time high school coach in Alabama, his brother is a coach and he has another brother that played football in this state. Players love playing for Jody, and he brings a lot of energy and excitement to our program.
"I first met Daric when he was at Clemson. He coached special teams and outside linebackers for us at Jacksonville State, and helped our special teams unit lead the conference in almost every statistical category. Daric makes special teams a fun part of the game, and does a lot of neat things in that aspect of the game."
Wright spent the 2013 season as the passing game and recruiting coordinator at Jacksonville State. While Wright was at JSU, the Gamecocks ranked second in the Ohio Valley Conference in total offense (442 yards per game) and scoring offense (35.2 ppg).
Wright oversaw a passing attack that ranked fourth in the OVC in passing yards per game, with 202.2 yards through the air per contest. Under his guidance, quarterback Max Shortell was named second-team All-Ohio Valley Conference, while wide receiver Josh Barge was a Phil Steele All-American.
Before his stint at Jacksonville State, Wright spent three years at the University of Alabama as a graduate assistant, helping the Crimson Tide win back-to-back BCS National Championships. Alabama posted a 35-5 record during his three years as he worked with the wide receivers and running backs.
Prior to joining Alabama, Wright worked for Dan Mullen at Mississippi State, where he was director of football operations, while also serving as an on-field offensive graduate assistant under Sylvester Croom.
From 2002 until his arrival at State, Wright worked as a student assistant coach at Jacksonville State, his alma mater. He coached on both sides of the ball at JSU, working with the outside linebackers early in the 2004 season. Wright also tutored the running backs and wide receivers while there.
Wright played running back at Jacksonville State beginning in 2000 and became a student assistant coach in 2002. While working with the offense, Wright helped the Gamecocks win the 2003 and 2004 Ohio Valley Conference championships.
"I am really excited to start work here at UAB," Wright said."This is a great opportunity at a great university and a wonderful city like Birmingham. We have great kids on this team and a lot to sell here to players all across the state of Alabama. Coach Clark has a strong vision for this program, and I look forward to working with him once again."
Riley brings 15 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level to UAB, where he will serve as outside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator.
Riley comes to the Blazers following a one-year stint at Jacksonville State University. At JSU, Riley served in the same position as outside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator.
Under his guidance, place kicker Griffin Thomas earned Phil Steele All-America honors and was named first-team All-Ohio Valley Conference. Thomas was one of the top kickers in the nation after setting numerous OVC and school records, including made field goals (23), field goal attempts (30) and points scored by kicking (128).
Riley went to Jacksonville State after serving as the secondary coach and special teams coordinator for two seasons at Newberry College under head coach Todd Knight. Riley also served as a defensive graduate assistant under head coach Dabo Swinney at Clemson University, working primarily on the defensive side of the ball.
Prior to coaching at Clemson, Riley was the defensive secondary coach and special teams coordinator at Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., from 2004-06, and held the same positions at Newberry College from 2003-04.Riley also served as the defensive secondary coach from 2000-01 at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn.
Riley began his coaching career at his alma mater, Charleston Southern University, where he was also a three-year letterman. He served as outside linebackers under head coach David Dowd.
Riley is a native of Beaufort S.C. He earned a bachelor of science degree in psychology and physical education in 1999. In 2009, he graduated with a master's degree in youth development leadership from Clemson.
"I am excited to be a part of the UAB family," Riley said. "I look forward to coaching current guys like Ty Long (placekicker), Hunter Mullins (punter) and Dallas Noriega (long snapper), who have a lot of talent. I am excited to be in Birmingham and look forward to being a part of the vision that coach Clark has."
Wright and Riley are two of four staff members who have been announced so far. Offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent and defensive coordinator Duwan Walker were announced on Wednesday.