Samford University named Bill Gray head football coach after he posted a 4-1 record as the school's interim coach, Samford Director of Athletics announced at a press conference today.
Gray, 40, becomes the school's 34th head coach. Gray replaces Pete Hurt, who was released last month following a 1-4 start. The Bulldogs finished with a 5-5 mark, their only loss under Gray to No. 23 Eastern Kentucky.
"It has been an amazing six weeks," said Gray. "There are a lot of people who could be standing here in this spot, but none could be more grateful to the Lord. I'm very humbled and very grateful to be standing here today.
"It's my desire that Saturdays at Seibert will be exciting," Gray continued. "We've hit on some traditions that are dear to my heart and I think the players have bought into them. We've started taking some pride in some things that may not have been noticed enough in the past. It's amazing what a difference that can make in a football team.
"A couple of dates already stand out in my mind, and one of them is 277 days from now, the time that we hit the field again to represent this University. Second is the last Saturday of September of 2003, when we get to play a conference football game for the first time. It's been a long time coming and we're excited about being a part of the Ohio Valley Conference."
Samford Director of Athletics Bob Roller commented on Gray's performance and ability.
"Bill Gray not only led our team to a 4-1 record, but he did so by adding excitement and a sense of pride and tradition to our football program," Roller said in announcing the five-year contract.
Samford will compete during the 2002 season as an NCAA Division I-AA Independent before moving to the Ohio Valley Conference in 2003 for all 17 of its intercollegiate sports.