Monday morning, he emphatically refuted the latest rumor on a popular Internet coaching website that says he is expected to take the job. He said “that rumor today was false, totally false.”
Clark, in Indianapolis for the annual coaches convention, said he went so far to contact the owner of the Internet site that issued the report to complain.
“I was pretty upset this morning,” he said.
Clark spoke to his staff by conference call Monday morning to reassure them he hasn’t taken the job nor even met with the UAB athletics director. He is expected to meet with JSU athletics director Warren Koegel when he gets back to town.
Koegel said Monday he hasn't been contacted by anyone connected with the UAB search seeking permission to talk with Clark. He also said he wasn't aware of the coach being contacted independently.
"Bill is happy here," Koegel said. "If other schools out there are legitimately interested, we'll deal with it. ... If it gets to be different down the road, I'll deal with it like we always have. We'll do it the right way."
A message left for Dennis Cordell, Clark’s agent, Monday morning was not immediately returned.
“It’s great to be called up and considered and all those things ... but I have not accepted the job,” Clark said. “If somebody puts up something false, then you’re not telling the truth to your people.
“It’s tough. It’s tough on my guys. You’ve got their wives and families to consider. You know me, I’m all about family.”
Scott Roussel, who runs the FootballScoop.com website where the item initially appeared, said it was “extremely normal” for coaches to call him. He wouldn’t characterize the tone of his conversation with Clark, but said it didn’t upset him “in any way” that the JSU coach had called.
Asked about the validity of the report, Roussel said “nothing is a done deal.”
Roussel said a source from UAB he didn’t identify called him several hours later and said “we still have other people to interview.” His later posts reflected that conversation.
Roussel’s brother Pete, meanwhile, who runs a rival coaching website, posted an item saying that Clark hasn’t interviewed at UAB.
Clark guided the Gamecocks to an 11-4 record and a run to the FCS quarterfinals in his first season as a college head coach. The team set numerous school, conference and national records along the way.
He currently has four years remaining on his original five-year contract that pays him $175,000 annually and carries a $400,000 buyout this year.
The whirlwind of a coaching search and its rumors don’t take long to gain traction. Since the rumor hit cyberspace, Clark estimated, he’s received nearly 100 calls and messages from coaches interested in a job on his “new staff.”
“Let’s keep this thing exactly what it is,” Clark said. “It’s one thing for somebody to have interest in you. It’s another that you took the job.
“When somebody says Bill Clark will be a leading candidate versus Bill Clark is going to take the job, it’s totally different. I know people will speculate because the world we’re in. I worry more about my people and my coaches and their families and the people I have to worry about and what they say than I am these others.”
Sports Writer Al Muskewitz: 256-235-3577. On Twitter @almusky_star.