IRVING, Tex (WIAT)– UAB coach Bill Clark has been named the 2017 Conference USA Coach of Year, league officials announced Wednesday.
The Blazers were picked to finish last in the C-USA preseason poll, with many preseason magazines pitting them dead last in the country. Clark led the Blazers to an 8-4 overall record and 6-2 in conference, both of which are school records. UAB finished second in the C-USA West Division and will play Ohio in the Bahamas Bowl on Dec. 22.
“What Bill Clark and his staff have accomplished over the last two and half years is simply amazing and we are honored his fellow C-USA coaches agreed by naming him Coach of the Year,” said Director of Athletics Mark Ingram. “The entire football world has been watching us closely this season and Bill has done a fantastic job keeping the players focused week in and week out. We are thrilled to be playing in the Bahamas Bowl and look to cap off this season on a high note with our program’s first ever bowl victory.”
The Blazers program was shut down in November of 2014 and spent the next two seasons without a team, basically the equivalent of the death penalty.
“I am excited to join the UAB community in congratulating Coach Clark on this hard earned and well deserved honor,” said UAB President Ray L. Watts. “We are all tremendously proud of UAB Football’s historic on-field success, as well as the team’s commitment to the classroom and the community. Coach Clark’s leadership has been essential in establishing a new standard of excellence for the program, and we look forward to a bright future and many more honors for Coach Clark and the team.”
Running back Spencer Brown was also named the Conference USA Freshman of the Year. Brown rushed for 1,292 yards and 10 touchdowns. Heading into the Bahamas Bowl, he needs just 97 yards to set the C-USA freshman rushing record (1,388 yards by Damion Fletcher of Southern Miss in 2006).
The Blazers face Ohio University (8-4) in the Bahamas Bowl on Dec. 22 at 11:30 a.m. CST on ESPN from Thomas A. Robinson Memorial Stadium.