L-R: Coach Bill Clark and UAB President Dr. Ray Watts. (Source: WBRC)
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -
The following is a commentary blog from FOX6 Sports Director Rick Karle:
The good news? It's back (well, let's just say it's looking better than it did last week). UAB President Dr. Ray Watts announced Monday that he and his peeps are making plans to bring back the sports of football, bowling and rifle to the Southside.
What did I get out of the president's address? Don't count on me to raise money for facilities as that one's on you!
And the doctor's support of his football coach? I have to say, the president missed a golden opportunity to send a strong message of support. Watts' response when asked about it? "Coach Bill Clark is our coach." That was it? Are you kidding? Let's talk, shall we?
Bill Clark has really been put through the ringer. At the very best he was misled when he was hired. He then lost his football team. He lost many of his players via transfer. He lost most of his assistants. Yet there Clark stood, ready and willing to return should the team be brought back. Perhaps Dr. Watts could have talked a bit more passionately about Bill Clark. Go on record to make sure fans knew he was behind him. Apologize for what went down (Watts did use the words "we're sorry" when addressing the assistant coaches). Tell a local audience riveted to the TV that he felt empathy and sympathy toward Clark. But what did we get? "Coach Bill Clark is our football coach." Great stuff, huh?
While most UAB fans hope that Clark is indeed the UAB football coach when the dust settles, I'm here to tell you there is lots of work to be done. Clark wants assurances galore and a nice fat, lengthy contract. Will Clark get more than three years? You can bet it's a point a contention as Clark and his agent meet with Watts and friends.
On Wednesday, Director of Athletics Mark Ingram would not bite on three questions posed to him by FOX6 News reporter Alan Collins, who asked Ingram if Clark would get more than a three-year deal.
"Coach Clark continues to work with his agents and ours to determine the full scale and scope of his future here, but we're excited to have him," Ingram said.
Ingram's a smart guy, as you never want to commit on the record before any such deal is done, but UAB fans sure would like to hear something a bit more concrete.
The bottom line? Dr. Watts, after botching the deal last December, botched the Bill Clark deal again just two days ago. No wonder a person very close to Clark tells me, "Watts had six months to learn how to address the Bill Clark situation yet still blew it."
Let's hope that when the dust settles, Bill Clark will be signed to a long-term contract and Dr. Watts will meet the media to offer more glowing terms about his coach than those seven words he used two days ago.