The situation at UAB is just bizarre at this point.
Bill Clark and his staff have completely re-energized a program that many had left for dead, and somehow there is still no shortage of talk circulating that the university plans to cut the football program.
When called out on the carpet by former UAB players, instead of answering the concerns, president Dr. Ray Watts danced around the issues and concerns instead of addressing them.
Just to give you an idea of how impressive Clark and his staff have been at UAB, back on September 4th, after their first game against Troy (a 48-10 win) we were ready to appoint Clark as the best under-the-radar coaching hire of 2014.
In the weeks that followed UAB has dropped a 13 point decision to Mississippi State and went on to beat Alabama A&M, a tough Western Kentucky team, North Texas, and Florida Atlantic. It should go without saying that we proudly stand by that statement from back in Week 2 on coach Clark.
The poisonous cloud of speculation and uncertainty continues to circle UAB football, and the decision makers have yet to come out and definitively stand up for the program. This situation has become the poster child on “how not to treat a coaching staff,” and yet Clark and his staff still manage to get their guys to go out and play quality football every week.
This past weekend, on their biggest stage yet against an undefeated Marshall team, UAB went out and fought their tails off but fell just short, 23-18 in a game that was every bit as close as it looks. We hear that they had nearly 30,000 people at that game at Legion Field, which is far more than any other Sun Belt, MAC, or Conference USA game that took place that day.
Did we mention that kickoff was at 11am? All things considered, that’s really impressive.
Against all odds, the UAB program is on the rise.
Today the executive director of the new UAB Football Foundation pledged to raise $4-5 million in the next year to support the program, and even more in the next 10 years. All UAB needs to do is meet three conditions, according to AL.com.
“1. Extending coach Bill Clark’s contract. Clark, nearing the end of his first season at UAB, agreed to a three-year deal originally.
2. Scheduling non-conference opponents beyond the 2016 season. At the moment, UAB has no non-conference games scheduled for 2017 and beyond.
3. UAB’s administration committing to support the program “at levels that provide UAB football an opportunity to compete for C-USA championships.”
Now there is simply no excuse. There is support, there is money, and you have coaches, players, and people that care.
UAB needs to step up and do the right thing here…it’s past time. They’ve got a quality staff in place that cares about the kids, the community, and the university (even if that’s a clear one-way street).
Do the right thing UAB.