UAB football coach Bill Clark, who rebuilt the program from scratch after it was briefly shut down, is retiring because of chronic back problems.
Clark, 53, will step down Aug. 1 and offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent will serve as interim coach, with defensive coordinator David Reeves serving as assistant head coach. In a Twitter post Friday, Clark wrote that he needs spinal fusion surgery because of "long-standing back issues that grew more and more debilitating in the last year." Clark already has undergone a back surgery and extensive physical therapy, and, after consulting with several experts, concluded he had "exhausted" all of his options.
"Retiring as the UAB head football coach is the hardest decision I've ever had to make, but my future health and well-being depend on it," Clark wrote.
The Alabama native who became a standout high school coach in the state went 49-26 at UAB with two Conference USA championships, three division titles and four bowl appearances. He took over in 2014, but UAB terminated the program after the season because of financial struggles. After significant outcry, UAB reinstated the program in June 2015, but the team did not compete until the 2017 as Clark rebuilt the roster and other elements.
UAB went 6-6 in 2017 and followed with an 11-3 record and a league title in 2018, as Clark won the Eddie Robinson national coach of the year honors. The team is 35-15 the past four seasons.
The team will enter the American Athletic Conference for the 2023 season.
"I am stepping down, but I am not walking away," Clark's post reads. "UAB football, the university and the city of Birmingham mean too much to me. My roots and my heart are here, and they will stay here. My future isn't completely clear, but I will remain active in causes I hold dear, including the Children's Harbor football game and the CoachSafely Foundation. I will be a champion for UAB and Birmingham, doing what I can to further their incredible progress."
Clark wrote that he recommended the entire coaching staff remain in place for the 2022 season. Vincent has spent five seasons over two stints at UAB as offensive coordinator. His offense set 21 team records in 2018.