JSU confirmed this afternoon Clark is leaving. A highly placed source within the university said Clark called athletics director Warren Koegel to inform him of the decision. Clark is scheduled to meet with his former team tonight at 6, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
As of this afternoon, there had been no announcement from UAB. Clark interviewed on Friday for the Blazers’ head coaching vacancy.
Clark, a JSU graduate, recently completed his first season as JSU’s head coach — his first year as a college head coach — guiding the team to an 11-4 record and a spot in the FCS quarterfinals. He will replace Garrick McGee at UAB. McGee resigned to become offensive coordinator at Louisville.
Clark had four years remaining on his JSU contract, which paid him $175,000 a year. He had a $400,000 buyout in his contract, which was more than covered by the $550,000 UAB received as a buyout on McGee’s contract.
Messages for Koegel, Clark and Clark’s Washington, D.C.-based agent Dennis Cordell went unreturned today.
“I’m just glad it’s over with,” said Jim Coxwell, chairman of the JSU board of trustees athletics committee. “I want to get on with our program. We’ve got some good kids and some good coaches who are going to stay with us, and I want to see us be successful in our program.”
Even before the confirmation of Clark’s departure, JSU President Bill Meehan and athletics director Warren Koegel met today in part to plan the road forward.
“Warren and I have prepared the way to work as fast as possible with the Athletics Committee and our Trustees for whatever we need to do,” Meehan said.
The Gamecocks availed themselves of Carr Sports Consulting — at a cost of $20,000 — to help identify candidates for the job that eventually went to Clark.
“I pledge to (the players) that we will make a quick decision to find an outstanding coach who will continue to lead them to success in all areas of college life,” Koegel was quoted as saying in a statement released this afternoon by JSU’s athletics department.
Clark’s successor will be the Gamecocks’ third head coach in as many years. It would be the fastest revolving door in the JSU program in 30 years, since the run through Jim Fuller, Joe Hollis and Bill Burgess between 1983 and 1985.
Meanwhile, the JSU football program is set to host 18 prospects on official recruiting visits this week. Those plans were still in place.
“Everything this weekend is still on,” recruiting coordinator Jody Wright said. “Commitments are being honored — just like last year.”
Sports Writer Al Muskewitz: 256-235-3577. On Twitter @almusky_star.