By Gary Lloyd
TRUSSVILLE — Thursday was a luncheon for members of the local business community, in a combination of Rooms Cahaba Fireside 2 and Cahaba Fireside 3 at the Trussville Civic Center.
Bill Clark, the first-year UAB head football coach, was the featured speaker, and he spoke to political candidates, business owners, and more as if they were his players, acted as if a nicely carpeted room with a fireplace was a team meeting room in downtown Birmingham.
Clark, who was hired by UAB in January after Garrick McGee bolted to become the offensive coordinator at Louisville, told Trussville Area Chamber of Commerce members that there was apprehension in the meeting room in January when he met with players for the first time, some of them now under the leadership of a third head coach at UAB.
He showed them UCLA basketball coaching legend John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success and delivered three rules. One: Always protect the team. Two: No whining, complaining or excuses. Three: Be ready.
That first rule is about players representing themselves well on and off the field, because their actions reflect on UAB. The No. 2 rule is self-explanatory. The final rule is about being on time all the time.
“We want to be known for great effort,” Clark said.
Clark said he also wants the program to be known for enthusiasm, being tough and playing smart.
“We want to be smart in everything we do,” Clark said.
Clark said the on-field philosophy is to keep the ball on offense and to take it away on defense. The style is all about the ball. He mentioned that of the 48 Super Bowls played in the NFL, he believes just one team who lost the turnover battle came out with the Lombardi Trophy.
“Every minute detail counts,” he said. “Everything counts.”
To that point, Clark brought up Allen Iverson, the former NBA All-Star point guard who’s famous for his play on the court, infamous for his press conference in which he incessantly reiterates, “We talkin’ about practice.” Clark said he “totally” disagrees with Iverson’s mindset that practice isn’t important.
“We want to practice to be harder than the game,” Clark said. “Practice is everything.”
Clark said he wants his players to enjoy competing and so far they are, he said. He said guys are choosing to participate in voluntary workouts and compete. They’re in a relentless pursuit of a competitive edge, he said.
Clark mentioned having a terse mission statement for UAB football, a simple yet all-encompassing sentence.
“Do things better than they’ve ever been done before,” he said.
Contact Gary Lloyd at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.