UAB has hired former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer as its next head coach on the eve of his high school team's state championship game, the university's athletic director announced Wednesday.
The 50-year-old Dilfer won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens in 2000 during a 14-year NFL career. He's making a big leap to the college ranks after leading Lipscomb Academy in Nashville, Tennessee, to three state title games in four seasons as head coach.
That includes one scheduled for Thursday morning against Christ Presbyterian Academy, meaning Dilfer would have to hustle back to Chattanooga after his introductory news conference. He takes his first college job with lofty ambitions for a program set to leave Conference USA for the American Athletic Conference starting next season.
"Having the opportunity to lead such a quality program like UAB is one that I am beyond excited about," Dilfer said in the school's news release. "The investments the university has made for UAB football aligns with my vision of taking this program to new heights as we join the American Athletic Conference and compete annually for the highest prize of playing in the College Football Playoff."
A former first-round draft pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1994, Dilfer retired in 2008 and went into broadcasting, working for ESPN as an NFL analyst until 2017.
At the same time, Dilfer became involved in the Elite 11 quarterback camp for the top high schools prospects in the country.
Lipscomb Academy, a private Christian school, is 12-0 this season and 25-1 the past two years. Dilfer has led Lipscomb to a 43-10 record overall.
"Trent is a proven winner on and off the field at all levels and will be a tremendous leader for our program," UAB athletic director Mark Ingram said. "He is a Super Bowl-winning quarterback who played the game at its highest level for many years, and he has coached some of the top quarterbacks who are currently NFL franchise players.
"Trent's goals and vision for our program is to lead UAB to the College Football Playoff and we have no doubt that he is the right coach to lead our transition in the American Athletic Conference."
Early in the 2021 season, Dilfer issued a public apology after a video on social media showed him pushing and shouting at one of his players. The player was the son of a former NFL teammate of Dilfer's, kicker Phil Dawson.
Dilfer replaces Bill Clark, who stepped down in August, citing back issues.
Offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent was named interim coach and led the Blazers to a 6-6 record this season. UAB is set to play Miami (Ohio) on Dec. 16 in the Bahamas Bowl.
No terms were announced pending formal approval of Dilfer's contract from the Board of Trustees.
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