UAB is going outside the box with its next head coach, unless that box has widened in the aftermath of Jeff Saturday.
The Blazers are expected to hire former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer, a man with zero coaching experience at the collegiate level, to run their program, according to ESPN’s Pete Thamel. A deal reportedly hasn’t been finalized, but is expected to come to terms in the next few days.
The UAB job was open due to the retirement of former head coach Bill Clark, who announced in June he was stepping away from the program in June due to back issues. Offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent stepped in as the school’s interim coach, going 6-6 with a berth in the Bahamas Bowl.
Clark had been the architect of UAB’s rebirth, cobbling together a roster only a couple years after watching the program be shuttered. He left Birmingham with a 49-26 record, and now Dilfer will reportedly be tasked with maintaining that success.
Trent Dilfer is an unorthodox hire for UAB
Dilfer’s hire is a surprise given that he has only ever coached high schoolers. He currently works as the head coach of the Lipscomb Academy in Nashville, where he has accrued a 43-10 record in four seasons. The team, currently 12-0, is expected to play in its state championship game on Thursday.
He has also worked as the head coach of the Elite 11 quarterback camp, where several top high school quarterback prepare for college each year.
The 50-year-old Dilfer is more known for his NFL and broadcasting careers. The Fresno State product played more than a decade in the pros after being selected sixth overall in the 1994 NFL draft, spending five seasons as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ starter then winning a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens.
After retiring in 2008, Dilfer became a television analyst, with stints at NFL Network, ESPN and Fox Sports 1.
The situation is not unlike the Indianapolis Colts hiring former franchise great Jeff Saturday as their interim head coach after the firing of Frank Reich. Saturday also had no experience coaching beyond the high school level, but even that was only for an interim job.