The Bill Clark Blazer Bowl
UAB’s Unimaginable Journey From Extinction to Bowl Champions
In December of 2014, the UAB football program was shut down due to financial instability, along with bowling and rifle. Every other sport stayed. The Blazers went 6-6 that season under head coach Bill Clark in his first year. Football at UAB was no more.
That spring, 66 players transferred without having to sacrifice a year of eligibility thanks to some forgiveness by the NCAA. A few other players stayed to finish school. And then there was Bill Clark…
Bill Clark could’ve went anywhere. He could’ve been an assistant, a coordinator, or a head coach in Division II or III. What Bill Clark did was stupid…
He stayed – a football coach without a football team – and he fought to get football back at UAB.
In 2014, what Bill Clark did was stupid.
Four years later, in December of 2018 – after what the Blazers just accomplished – what Bill Clark did was quite incredible.
When football’s return to UAB was announced in 2015, Clark was still there, and he was recruiting again from ground zero.
Without a 2016 schedule or a roster to field a team, Clark recruited junior college players in preparation for the 2017 season. The NCAA granted UAB with a 50-man signing class rather than the usual 25. Clark found players with injuries, eligibility issues, or raw talent needing time to grow. Other schools passed on those players, but Clark had a plan.
In 2017, the Blazers returned to the gridiron, went 8-5 and garnered a bowl bid. They lost to Ohio, 41-6.
In 2018, this fresh-faced two-year-old program won 11 games, including its first bowl victory in school history with a win over Northern Illinois on Tuesday (37-13).
Bill Clark is going to get offers from bigger and better schools, and no one will blame him if he leaves. We think he'll stay, because Bill Clark is as loyal as they come. Regardless, he took a team from extinction to an 11-win bowl champion in two seasons. Incredible.