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
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
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.