UAB has hired former Super Bowl-winning quarterback Trent Dilfer as its next coach, the school announced on Wednesday. Dilfer, who played 14 years in the NFL for five different franchises from 1994 to 2007 and won a Super Bowl as quarterback of the 2000 Baltimore Ravens, most recently completed his fourth season as head coach of Lipscomb Academy, a private high school in Nashville, Tennessee, that has amassed a 38-8 record under his leadership.

Dilfer will coach in Lipscomb's state championship game on Thursday, Dec. 2 before beginning his UAB coaching duties the following day. 

"Having the opportunity to lead such a quality program like UAB is one that I am beyond excited about," Dilfer said in a statement. "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. I would like to thank President Ray Watts, Director of Athletics Mark Ingram and the entire search committee for their commitment to excellence and for trusting in me as we venture into this new era of UAB Football together."

In addition to his Super Bowl ring, Dilfer earned a Pro Bowl nod while leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1997. Prior to the NFL, Dilfer won the Sammy Baugh Trophy as the best passer in America after throwing for 3,799 yards, 30 touchdowns and five interceptions as a signal caller at Fresno State

After his NFL retirement, Dilfer moved into the media as an analyst for ESPN and Fox. He is also deeply involved in the annual Elite 11 quarterback competition, which which brings together the best high school quarterback recruits in the country each year. 

While Lipscomb Academy is a highly competitive team that is developing numerous FCS prospects, Dilfer does not have any experience coaching at the collegiate level. In fact, his four-year stretch at Lipscomb is his only experience coaching organized team football at any level.

Dilfer has worked closely with players as a quarterback coach but only as an individual trainer. If Dilfer does get the UAB job, convincing two-year starter Dylan Hopkins and Baylor transfer Jacob Zeno to remain out of the transfer portal would give him a talented group of signal callers with whom he could work in year 1.

Dilfer received criticism in 2021 after a video of him shoving a player went viral. He later apologized for the incident.

"Trent is a proven winner on and off the field at all levels and will be a tremendous leader for our program," 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. Most importantly, Trent is an outstanding man, husband and father with tremendous character who fits our department's core values of winning championships, graduating with honors and making a difference in our community."

Dilfer stands in stark contract to UAB's last full-time coach, Bill Clark. Prior to joining South Alabama as a defensive coordinator in 2008, Clark had 18 years of high school football coaching experience across Alabama and Georgia. 

Clark went 11-4 in one season at Jacksonville State in 2013 before being hired at UAB, where he led the Blazers to a 6-6 record before the program shut down. Clark then led an effort to resurrect UAB football, which succeeded with the program being reinstated in 2017. Despite needing to almost completely rebuild the program, Clark led the Blazers to five straight winning seasons and two Conference USA championships (2018, 2020). He was also twice named the CBS Sports Coach of the Year and the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year in 2018.

Clark, 54, resigned before the 2022 season due to back problems. His offensive coordinator, Bryan Vincent, took over as interim coach and led UAB to a 6-6 record.

After the season, Blazers players wrote a letter to UAB president Ray Watts in an effort to have him retain Vincent as the permanent coach. Watts declined to meet with players for their input during the coaching search.