January 22, 2014

Coach Bill Clark Meets the Press

BARTOW ARENA - New UAB football coach Bill Clark met the media Wednesday afternoon - the media and several hundred Blazer fans and supporters. The crowd was large enough that Athletics Director Brian Mackin opened his comments by scanning the crowd and asking, "Who said that UAB football doesn't matter. Mackin jokingly added that he was jealous because there were "more people at his press conference than mine." All joking aside, though, Clark was impressive in his first official appearance as a Blazer.

Clark noted that leaving his alma mater at Jacksonville State was a tough decision, but he always wanted to be a division 1 coach and he thought UAB was a great opportunity. "There's a lot of things to sell at this university," he said. ". . . I had to see some great things."

"I see there is a commitment here," he added.

He was also impressed with the commitment of Mackin and other administration officials, including President Ray Watts, to improving the team and facilities. The specific nature of those improvements, both short term and long term, were delayed until he could make a full evaluation of what was needed.

Mackin said he entered the interview process with a checklist of what he was looking for in a coach. That list included someone with integrity, was well respected by other coaches, had experienced as a head coach, was a proven winner, worked well with fans and the media, and understood football in the state of Alabama.

"I viewed it as an opportunity . . . to hire the right man," Mackin added.

Clark will bring many of his assistant coaches with him to UAB, and the group will get to work immediately. They were meeting with players later in the day, the coaches would quickly move to evaluate the existing talent, and then they would hit the recruiting trail. One of the first stops will be the annual meeting of high school coaches - a meeting he expected most of his staff to attend.

Clark said he would honor all recruiting commitments obtained by the previous staff, while trying to solidify his team for next season. He also said, that in future years, "we ill win the state of Alabama" in recruiting.

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