Seasons: The Magazine of Samford University

Gray Named Head Football Coach After 4-1 Performance as Interim

"It's my desire that Saturdays at Seibert will be exciting." With that stated goal, Samford assistant Bill Gray was named head football coach Nov. 26.

Actually, the 40-year old Mississippi native already had begun to make Samford football exciting. Taking over as interim head coach halfway through the 2001 season, he led the Bulldogs to a 4-1 record the rest of the way. Samford averaged 35 points and 419 yards a game during that span, scoring 43 or more points three times.

The resurgence enabled Samford to finish 5-5 overall after a 1-4 start in which it averaged 18 points and 302 yards a game. Gray was named interim coach when Head Coach Pete Hurt was released.

Gray attributed the turnaround to the players "taking some pride in some things that may not have been noticed enough in the past." He added, "It's amazing what a difference that can make in a football team."

The new head coach said the team was more attentive to detail and focused during the second half of the season. One statistic that reflected that change was the number of penalties: 29 for 247 yards the first half, 17 for 165 yards the second half.

Samford Director of Athletics Bob Roller introduced Gray as the coach to lead Samford into the Ohio Valley Conference, its new league. "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 program," said Roller.

New Samford Head Coach Bill Gray talks Bulldog football at an introductory press conference.

Samford will compete as an NCAA Division I-AA independent in 2002 before moving into the OVC in 2003. Gray received a five-year contract.

"A couple of dates stand out in my mind," said Gray, "and one of them is 277 days from now, the time we hit the field again to represent this University. Second is the last Saturday 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."

Gray has been an assistant coach at Samford since 1994. Before that, he coached five years at his alma mater, Mississippi College, and five years in high school ranks in Houston, Texas.

From Jackson, he lettered four years as a wide receiver at Mississippi College, and earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the school. He and his wife, Crystal, have five children.

Winter 2001
Vol. 18, No. 4

Carnegie Names Chew

'Quantum Leap' in Science

Alumni of the Year

Remembering Ruhama

Gray Takes Charge

About Samford People

Campus News

Estate Planning


Class Notes


In Memoriam



©2002 Samford University
Maintained by University Relations. Last updated: April 4, 2002