By Steve Irvine
Bryant Vincent’s ultimate goal – winning a Conference USA football title in UAB’s final season in the conference – has not changed. His role in chasing that goal, however, changed drastically over the past few days.
Official word came Monday that Vincent will serve as UAB’s interim head football coach during the 2022 season. That announcement came three days after Bill Clark stepped down because of severe back problems.
Vincent is now tasked with leading a program that Clark turned into a proven winner over the past eight years.
“We are thankful for the tremendous job Bill Clark has done leading our program through unprecedented times; we certainly wish him well and hope that he has a full recovery,” said UAB Director of Athletics Mark Ingram. “After meeting with Coach Bryant Vincent, our team and staff over the last few days, and in consultation with President Ray Watts and the UA System Board of Trustees, we have asked Coach Vincent to serve as our Interim Head Coach. He is well-respected by our players and staff and has the full support of our athletics administration and university leadership. UAB will perform a national coaching search at the conclusion of the season, but right now our focus is on the present and getting this tremendous team ready to make another run at a Conference USA Championship.”
Vincent met with media members via a Zoom call on Monday. He said Clark’s recommendation that Vincent serve as the program’s interim leader is “a compliment of a lifetime.”
He said the plan that was put into place by Clark will continue. What he won’t do, though, is try to step out of his own personality.
“There is only one Bill Clark, and he’s more important to UAB football than any other person, in my opinion,” Vincent said. “I’ve got to be Bryant Vincent. I’ve been a head high school coach before, at two different stops. I’ve kind of followed the same path that Coach Clark has followed. It’s very important to be myself.”
So who is Bryant Vincent?
He’s a 46-year-old Kentucky native, who compiled a 49-16 record in five seasons as a high school head coach at Greenville High and Spanish Fort High. His Spanish Fort team won an Alabama Class 5A title in 2010. He had a pair of stints on the South Alabama staff and was Clark’s offensive coordinator in 2014. He returned to UAB after leaving South Alabama in 2017 and took over the offensive coordinator role in 2018.
“I’m a relationship guy,” Vincent said. “I always have been my entire career. I love the players, love the coaches. When you put in the amount of time together, the amount of work together to go after championships, if you have a big win you’re going to celebrate.”
Vincent’s role will expand during practice sessions and games. He’ll still call the offensive plays and coordinate the offense.
“We’ve got a plan in place,” Vincent said. “The thing about it, the standard is going to remain the same – how we practice, how we organize and detail this program. At the end of the day, I’ve just added a few more responsibilities with defense and special teams. It’s not anything we’re not prepared for.”
Steve Irvine has written for the Birmingham News, UABSports.com, SportsXchange, the Associated Press, Athlon and Lindy’s Sports Journals. To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email email@example.com.
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