UAB is going to hire Trent Dilfer as head coach. He was apparently a late-entrant into the coaching search – at least to the people trying to cover the proceedings. The UAB Football team was agitating for keeping interim coach Bryant Vincent. Dilfer won a Super Bowl and had been on TV for a long while. He led Elite 11 for a bit and recently coached at a high school and is competing for a state title in Tennessee this weekend. Now, he will be the UAB head coach as they enter the AAC.
The Blazers have a good program but one that needs the next step. Bill Clark said as much before the opening of Protective Stadium. Dilfer will be tasked with raising enthusiasm and filling up the stadium with fans. The program has been good, but probably could use some eye-catching non-conference wins. UAB has had talent in Birmingham, but will be expected to compete with AAC programs recruiting from the same areas.
Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated reported that UNT Athletic Director Wren Baker will be taking over at West Virginia. North Texas has built facilities, raised funds, and won an NCAA Tournament game in hoops and will compete for a league title this weekend in San Antonio. He is well-respected as a fund-raiser but also underated as an administrator. He turned the North Texas Athletic department from a small-time operation to one that is poised to compete in the AAC next season. He was hired by current UNT President Neal Smastresk, who also was instrumental in hiring Seth Littrell. Hoops coach Grant McCasland was a Baker hire, and his success has meant he is a target of rumors for bigger jobs.
The next AD will likely have to either replace him, or keep him well paid. All told, North Texas Athletics is in a great spot – we haven’t even mentioned all of the “other” sports where NT is a competitor. The next hire will have some decisions to make but the football and basketball jobs will have good foundations to lure good coaches.