Bill Clark, who revived UAB football with unprecedented success, announces retirement

·3 min read

UAB football coach Bill Clark announced his retirement Friday morning, calling it the hardest decision he ever had to make.

Clark attributed his decision to ongoing medical challenges.

“Because of long-standing back issues that grew more and more debilitating in the last year, I have been told I need a spinal fusion,” Clark said in a written statement on Twitter. “Due to the extreme physical demands placed on a head coach, it is clear to me. It’s time to pass the torch and try to get well.”

Clark served as the coach of the Blazers for eight years after it was shut down in 2015 and 2016. He will officially retire Aug. 1, when Bryant Vincent will take over as interim head coach and David Reeves will serve as assistant head coach. Clark recommended that the current staff should remain intact throughout the 2022 season.

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“They have proven themselves as leaders and winners on the field,” Clark said in the statement. “No one understands better the importance of continuity, and they have earned the opportunity to continue leading these student-athletes while implementing the strategic plan we’ve developed for this year and beyond.”

UAB is in the process of transitioning from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference.

In Clark’s tenure, he led the Blazers to a 46-29 record, three C-USA West titles, two C-USA championships, four bowl berths and two bowl wins. In his final game, UAB beat No. 13 BYU in the Independence Bowl for the Blazers’ highest-ranked victory in program history.

Clark grew up in Piedmont and played at Piedmont High School. His career in the high school ranks included three seasons as an assistant at Tuscaloosa County High in the 1990s and his first head coaching job was at Prattville High School, where he won back-to-back state championships. He was defensive coordinator at South Alabama from 2008-12 and got his first collegiate head coaching job at Jacksonville State, taking the Gamecocks to an 11-4 record in 2013 before moving to UAB.

Clark, a two-time national coach of the year, was also a driving force behind the formation of the UAB Athletics Foundation and the construction of the on-campus Football Operations Center, the first capital project dedicated to football in university history.

Clark got his first head coaching job at Prattville High School, where he amassed a record of 106-11 from 1999-2007. His team won back-to-back Alabama state championships in 2007.

Five years later, he accepted the head coaching job at Jacksonville State, a position he held for one year. That year, the Gamecocks set 49 school records.

Clark did not include a date for his spinal fusion in his written statement. He said he plans to continue to be involved in the program.

“I am stepping down, but I am not walking away,” Clark said. “UAB football, the university and the city of Birmingham mean too much to me. My roots are here, and they will stay here.”

Emma Healy is a sports reporting intern for The Tennessean. Contact her at or follow her on Twitter @_EmmaHealy_.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: UAB football coach Bill Clark announces retirement