The guiding force of one of the best stories in college football has now collected some well-earned hardware.
In besting a field of seven other finalists, UAB’s Bill Clark has been named by the Football Writers Association of America as the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year. Earlier this month, the Blazers put the finishing touches on a 10-3 regular season by claiming the football program’s first-ever Conference USA championship in just its second year back.
Prior to that, UAB had made Clark the highest-paid head coach in the conference as they reached an agreement with the head coach on a new five-year contract. The flurry of events of the last couple of weeks capped off what’s been a roller coaster ride for both the coach and the program over the last four years.
In December of 2014, UAB announced that it would be disbanding its football program. Six months later, the university announced that the shuttered program would return to the playing field at some point; a month after that, it was confirmed that some point would be in 2017.
That season, the Blazers qualified for a bowl their first year back. This season, the 10 wins are already the most ever in the school’s history, breaking the mark of eight… set by Clark’s 2017 UAB squad. Prior to Clark, the Blazers had never won more than seven games in a single season (2000, 2004).
The other finalists for the coaching award claimed by UCF’s Josh Heupel, Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, Army’s Jeff Monken, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley, Alabama’s Nick Saban, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Fresno State’s Jeff Tedford. Last year’s winner was UCF’s Scott Frost.