- This article is about the UAB football coach. For the high school principal, see Bill Clark (principal).
Clark played football for the Piedmont High School Bulldogs and was named to the Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 3A All-State Team as an offensive lineman in 1985. He went on to attend Jacksonville State University while assisting his father as coach at Ashville High School. After graduating with a physical education degree in 1990, he was hired as George Hoblitzell's defensive coordinator at Piedmont High School, his alma mater.
After two seasons, Clark was named defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Tuscaloosa County High School. He moved to Coffee County High in Georgia in 1995 and Dothan High School in 1997 before taking the head coaching job at Prattville High School in 1999.
During his nine years with the Prattville Lions, Clark's teams went 106-11, including a 55-game regular season win streak and consecutive Class 6A state championships in 2006 and 2007. He was named Coach of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association in 2006.
In 2008 Clark was hired as defensive coordinator for the newly-created University of South Alabama Jaguars football team, which won its first 17 games under head coach Joey Jones. In 2012 he was tapped to replace Jack Crowe as head football coach at Jacksonville State University. In one season he led the 2013 Gamecocks into the FCS Division I playoff quarterfinals with an 11–4 record.
On January 21, 2014, Clark announced that he would resign to succeed Garrick McGee as head coach of the UAB Blazers. In his first and only season, Clark led the 2014 UAB Blazers football team to a 6-6 record, boosting excitement with early wins over Troy University and North Texas at Legion Field. Average home attendance more than doubled over the previous 2-10 and the team reached bowl eligibility by beating Southern Miss 45-24 in Hattiesburg in their final game.
With mounting support for a reversal of the decision to end the football program, Clark remained available, and was re-hired when the resumption of football was announced on June 1, 2015. He immediately hired assistants and returned to recruiting as supporters helped to make facility upgrades possible. With the players on campus, Clark went through the fall 2015 season with a regular game-week schedule and held spring and summer practices in 2016.
Clark's 2017 team went 8-5 and finished in a tie for 2nd place in Conference USA's western division. They were invited to the December 22 "Bahamas Bowl" in Nassau, where they lost to the Ohio Bobcats, 41-6.
His 2018 team suffered an early loss to the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers, but then won eight in a row to claim the western division title. The Blazers avenged a 27-3 loss at Middle Tennessee in the Conference USA Championship Game, played at the same stadium a week later, defeating the Blue Raiders 27-25 to claim the conference crown. At 10-3, UAB was invited to play the MAC champion Northern Illinois Huskies in the 2018 Boca Raton Bowl. Clark was named "Coach of the Year" by Sporting News and the Football Writers Association of America.
During the season a renewal of Clark's contract, which would make him the conference's highest-paid coach and keep him in Birmingham through 2024, was announced. In June 2022, however, Clark informed the team that he was stepping down due to medical issues involving his spine. Offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent served as interim head coach during the 2022 season. Trent Dilfer was hired in December 2022 as Clark's successor.
|UAB Blazers football head coach
Bryant Vincent (interim)
- Hicks, Tommy (December 18, 2012) "Bill Clark excited about opportunity at Jacksonville State." al.com
- "Bill Clark (American football)" (December 8, 2014) Wikipedia - accessed December 19, 2014
- Bean, John (November 30, 2018) "UAB coach Bill Clark gets big raise, becomes C-USA’s highest-paid coach." The Birmingham News
- Al-Khateeb, Zac (December 10, 2018) "UAB's Bill Clark is Sporting News' 2018 Coach of the Year." Sporting News.
- Lyons, Dan (June 24, 2022) "UAB Football Coach Bill Clark Announces Retirement" Sports Illustrated