Bill Clark is no longer the best kept secret in college football, and he will be drawing a lot of interest from teams this offseason, which is why UAB needs to pay this man now.

After leading the Blazers to their first 6-win season in 10 years back in 2014, he’s on the verge of doing it again in 2017 after the football program was shut down for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

The legend of Bill Clark is well known around Birmingham, but now the entire college football nation is on notice.

With what he’s been able to do at UAB, you can imagine the jobs at power five schools that will come rolling in.

I honestly believe Clark wants to stick this out at least a couple of more years and see it through, but UAB fans are kidding themselves if they think Clark will be a UAB lifer.

At some point he will jump ship for a bigger job at an SEC school, but for now he’s ours, and we need to make sure it stays that way for as long as possible.

Right now Coach Clark makes a little over $600,000  a year before bonuses. That ranks ninth among Conference USA coaches.

UTSA’s Frank Wilson leads the conference making over $1.1 million a year, while three other Conference USA coaches make $900,000 or more, according USA Today.

Clark is only signed through the 2019 football season, and he’s scheduled to make that same salary the next two seasons. According to the two sides are negotiating a new contract, but not much progress has been made.

Clark may be the best coach in the conference, and he definitely deserves to be paid like it. UAB needs to at least put him in the top third of the conference.

If they can’t make that happen I don’t think Clark hangs around past 2019. Even if that does happen, power five teams will be offering him even more money to lure him away soon.

The smallest salary for a head coach in the SEC right now is $1.16 million. We definitely can’t compete with that kind of money, but we need to at least make it worth Clark’s while to hang around for a few more years.

This bodes the question, how much should we throw at Bill Clark? If we aren’t willing to fork out $1 million-plus, we are shooting ourselves in the foot. President Ray Watts had no problem trumpeting the successes of former basketball coach Jerod Haase, and ultimately he gave the man his million per year. He even held a live teleconference with Haase in his office announcing the raise.

“Coach Haase is a rising star in college basketball, and we want him and his staff to take UAB to unprecedented levels of success,” Watts said. “Our investments in the program to reach and sustain excellence and win championships, along with the continued support of donors, will make these priorities a reality and bolster all of our athletic programs.” – President Ray Watts

Whether he leaves or not, UAB football is still blessed with new facilities and a passionate fan base because of Coach Clark. However, if he does stick around for five more years I think we see UAB win a Conference USA Championship game during that time.

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The fans have done their job. The players have done their job. And Bill Clark has more than done his job. It’s time for the university to do theirs and make sure they do whatever they can to keep Coach Clark around.