UAB has been searching for a new full-time football coach since June when Bill Clark announced that he was from the program for health reasons. Offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent stepped into the role on an interim basis, and UAB's players hope that the athletic department will remove the "interim" tag and make Vincent the permanent head coach.
UAB's players penned a letter to school president Ray Watts urging the school to retain Vincent instead of hiring an outsider to lead the Blazers in 2023.
"We, as the players and the team, want our voices to be heard," the letter read. "We deserve to be heard! We have represented this program and this University and built something special here. We believe in Coach Vincent and want him to be our head coach. This team loves Coach Vincent and believes in him. He is our head coach. He is a great leader, and we follow him. We have had memorable moments throughout the championship seasons and bowl wins, but we have never been closer as a team nor had a tighter brotherhood than we do now."
The letter appears to have been penned after Watts refused to meet with the players to discuss their view of the ongoing coaching search.
"We called your secretary to set up a meeting with our team, but she said that you were too busy to meet with us," the letter read. "We, as a team, respect your time and schedule. We, as a team, want our voices heard. We have fought for and brought championships and bowl wins to this University. Championships and bowl wins that have never been done in the history of the program. We have accomplished things that nobody thought would ever happened here."
The players have seemingly become more frustrated with athletic director Mark Ingram as the process has drawn on, which caused them to write the letter to Watts.
"On June 27, Mark Ingram told us that he would conduct a national search for our coach," the letter read. That was all he said. He didn't talk to any of us players or ask us any questions. That was all he said!!! He didn't talk to us again until November 28. This was after the season! We went through an entire season of uncertainty and stuck together as a team to reach bowl eligibility for the seventh ... I repeat, the seventh straight year. The only thing that was said to us as a team on November 28 is that he is committed to have this wrapped up in a week. That was it."
Vincent and the Blazers went 6-6 in 2022 and earned a berth in the Bahamas Bowl against Miami (Ohio) in what will be the Blazers' sixth straight bowl appearance. The program returned from a two-year shutdown in 2017, and has made a bowl every season since its re-birth. Bryant played a big role in that run as the Blazers' offensive coordinator from 2018-21. He was also the offensive coordinator of the Blazers in 2014 -- its last season before the shutdown -- when they went 6-6 but did not play in a bowl.