News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Ex-Tide, AU assistant answers UAB’s call
Neil Callaway played for Bryant, coached for Dye and DuBose

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — Football coach Neil Callaway has spent time with Alabama and Auburn, and now he’s headed to the state’s largest city to take over the UAB program.

UAB hired Callaway to serve as head football coach for the Blazers, which went 3-9 this season under Watson Brown.

Callaway is the third football coach in UAB history. Brown left Dec. 9 after 12 seasons to coach Tennessee Tech.

Callaway played for Alabama under Bear Bryant as a linebacker, defensive end and offensive tackle during 1974-77. He coached the offensive line at Auburn during 1981-92 under Pat Dye, who was an assistant at Alabama when Callaway signed to play there.

Callaway returned to Alabama as offensive line coach in 1997 and served as offensive coordinator during 1998-2000. He has spent the past six seasons as offensive coordinator at Georgia.

Georgia (8-4) practiced twice Saturday in preparation for the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Callaway attended both sessions before traveling to Birmingham.

UAB interim athletic director Richard Margison said at a news conference Sunday that Callaway brings a “hard-nosed attitude, both on the field and in the classroom.”

He added that Callaway “knows how to win,” and he expects the coach to strengthen the Conference USA school.

Callaway, who will stay with Georgia through its bowl game, has a five-year contract, with a salary not disclosed Sunday.

Before UAB turned its attention to Callaway, the school reportedly was set to offer the job to LSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, but balked at his salary of $600,000 a year, even though Blazers boosters were ready to pay approximately half.

Callaway said UAB has a solid foundation in creating and developing a football program.

“I’m looking forward to building on what exists and taking it farther than people can imagine,” Callaway said. “There are many people who are dedicated to this team, and that is so important in building championships.

“We have some work to do to get where we want to be, and where we expect to be in the very near future.”

In addition to coaching at Auburn, Alabama and Georgia, Callaway also was assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Houston (1993-96) and offensive line coach on Dye’s staff at Wyoming (1980) and East Carolina (1978-79).

During his six years at Georgia, Callaway was part of a staff that won two SEC championships, three SEC Eastern Division titles, three bowl games and had four top 10 finishes in the final national polls.

In 2002, the Bulldogs finished as the SEC’s best in scoring (32.14 ppg) and pass efficiency (138.91).

During Callaway’s tenure at Auburn, the Tigers won or shared four SEC championships.

At Alabama, he helped the Tide win the 1999 SEC championship.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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