Not once but twice Bill Clark has helped to resurrect UAB football. This time, and after a couple of years of lip service, he’s being rewarded financially.
Friday night, the university announced that it has reached an agreement in principle with its head football coach to extend and enhance his current contract. The new agreement is subject to the approval of the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees, which is expected to happen at some point in the next couple of weeks.
“UAB football is enjoying great success on and off the field under Coach Clark’s leadership,” athletic director Mark Ingram said in a statement. “We are very optimistic about our future and look forward to Coach Clark being here for a long time.
“I want to thank Dr. Watts and his team and the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees for their unwavering support during this process.”
In his first season in 2014, Clark took over a Blazers team that had won eight games the previous three years combined and turned it into one that went 6-6 in that inaugural campaign. In December of that year, president Ray Watts announced the controversial decision to axe the football program; six months later, the same administration reversed course and announced that the program would (ultimately) be reinstated for the 2017 season.
In this first year back, the Blazers are 5-3 and in line for the program’s second-ever bowl bid and first since the 2004 season.
“[Wife] Jennifer and I want to thank the Blazer students, fans, the Birmingham community, Dr. Watts, Mark Ingram, the UAB administration, the University Board of Trustees and the Athletics Foundation for their support of the return of UAB Football,” Clark said in his statement. “We also want to thank our players, coaches and staff for the hard work and commitment they have made for our program to be successful in the classroom, in life and on the football field.
“We appreciate the opportunity we’ve been given at UAB. The commitment UAB is making to us with this contract extension will allow us to continue the work that we’ve begun with this football program for many years to come. GO BLAZERS!”
Clark’s new five-year contract would extend him through the 2022 season. The first year of the deal will pay him $900,000, up from the $630,000 he was scheduled to earn in 2017. That new figure will, along with FIU’s Butch Davis, make him the fourth-highest paid head coach in Conference USA (per USA Today) behind UT-San Antonio’s Frank Wilson ($1.14 million), North Texas’ Seth Littrell ($991,400) and FAU’s Lane Kiffin ($950,000).
In the last year of his contract, Clark right now is scheduled to be paid $1.015 million.