This is an open letter to current Jacksonville State University Football coach Bill Clark. Today, Bill Clark interviewed in Atlanta for the UAB Football head coaching job. I just hope Bill Clark makes the right decision here!
What a great year for the Jacksonville State University Football team. In the first year under new head coach Bill Clark, he took the team to an amazing 11-4 record, the team played very well against most teams, and the team went deep in the NCAA FCS Playoffs, in his first year! The JSU fanbase was re-ignited and the spirit of the football program came back! It was a great year for JSU Football, and there is a possibility JSU will lose the man who turned around the football program in one year, to go to a school with a very bad football stadium.
The UAB Blazers Football program has had a rough couple of years. Last season, the team went 2-10. And they were blown out by some teams with a margin of nearly 50 points! Their last coach, Garrick McGee, went 5-19 in his two years, and that was not even close to being enough because he resigned to go to Louisville. Now, UAB is interviewing several candidates for the head coaching job including Bill Clark, Jim Grobe, Eddie Gran, and Chris Scelfo. My question is this, how can the UAB Football program rebuild from its current state of dysfunction?
For one, the Alabama Board of Trustees needs to finally approve the plans for a new stadium in downtown Birmingham and on the UAB campus. Legion Field has had a proud history of hosting some great games, but the stadium is way past its prime! The stadium is falling apart and it’s in a bad neighborhood. To sum it up, it’s time to retire Legion Field and tear down the place. If downtown Birmingham can be revitalized with the building of Regions Field, which is an amazing place by the way, downtown Birmingham can support a new football stadium for UAB. It’s needed badly!
And two, I hope Bill Clark thanks UAB for the interview, but decides to stay at JSU. UAB is like the evil red-headed step child to the University of Alabama football program, who cares about UAB, everyone in the University of Alabama system needs to care about the Crimson Tide. I don’t think you will ever see the UAB Football program back being successful. I think it might be wise for UAB to temporary end the football program, and concentrate on other things, until a new football stadium is built. But than won’t happen, because football is king in Alabama. And even though the program might be losing money and has a losing record, football matters in Alabama.
The Jacksonville State University Football program needs Bill Clark to stay! Everyone in East Alabama is talking about the football program, attendance was up in his first year, and many people were talking about the program on social media, including me!
Think about this, the JSU Football program is one of the few good things going on in East Alabama. In a landscape where East Alabama is dominated with bad news about its bad economy and unemployment problems, the JSU Football program is one of the few things that can bring some good news to this region. If Bill Clark decides to leave for UAB, it will re-affirm the notion that East Alabama is one of the poorest and worst job regions in America. And I am not telling a lie, because as I don’t need to remind people, according to the Milken Institute and the list of 179 small metro areas, the Anniston / Oxford area is the second worst performing small metro area in America for 2013. Along with the articles that ranked the Talladega / Sylacauga area as the 5th poorest region in America and Gadsden as the 4th poorest city in America. Plus, with the major problems in Alexander City and Fort Payne, East Alabama is in really deep trouble.
I could also add this in to the mix, according to Lumosity, the Talladega/Sylacauga area is the eighth dumbest region in America. The figures for the Gadsden, Anniston and Rome Georgia Metros are not much better. The point is, the JSU Football program is a shining light to the problems happening in East Alabama. If Bill Clark decides to leave the JSU program behind for a UAB program that is in disarray, I would be shocked! And it would re-confirm the notion that the East Alabama region is slowly dying forever and for the people who are struggling, it’s time to move away.
I just hope Bill Clark makes the right decision here, hopefully we will soon learn what Bill Clark decides, and I hope that decision is he stays at Jacksonville State. Even if it means JSU has to raise the pay for Bill Clark, than do it! The entire East Alabama region depends on it!