Williamson aims to have new UWA coach within two weeks

Will Hall departed Nov. 22 for West Georgia after three seasons at UWA. West Alabama athletic director Stan Williamson said more than 50 applications have been received for Hall's vacancy.

Will Hall departed Nov. 22 for West Georgia after three seasons at UWA. West Alabama athletic director Stan Williamson said more than 50 applications have been received for Hall’s vacancy.

The University of West Alabama hopes to have a pool of finalist for its head football coaching position within two weeks.

“I would like for this committee to interview three finalists as early as next weekend. And as soon as we get a consensus, hire them right away,” UWA athletic director Stan Williamson said during Monday’s quarterly meeting of the school’s athletic committee.

The program is currently without a coach in the wake of the departure of Will Hall, who resigned Nov. 22 to accept the same position at the University of West Georgia.

“There was nothing we could do to keep Will here. It really had very little to do with football and the institution and had more to do with family,” Williamson told the athletic committee of Hall’s departure. “He’s got two young children and the educational opportunities where he’s moving are better for his family than they are here. That’s probably the biggest factor of anything. It wasn’t necessarily a salary issue or a facility issue, although West Georgia has some nice facilities and there are some good things about that institution that drew him there. I don’t think it would have been his first choice to leave, nor was it any of ours. We don’t want him at another conference school. But the timing of it was good for them and bad for us.”

Williamson also announced that UWA interim coach Desmond Lindsey also tendered his resignation Monday morning and will follow Hall to Gulf South Conference foe West Georgia.

“We actually had an internal candidate that we have been talking to for the last year and a half, cultivating, preparing him,” Williamson said. “But, ultimately, when it came down to the decision, he was not prepared to take the job. So we quickly went from internal to external looking for the best candidate.”

That external search has produced nearly five dozen applications so far.

“We’ve already received approximately 59 applications for the position,” Williamson said, also noting select applicants would be interviewed by a nine-member committee. “We have some very good applicants. There are probably 18 of those 59 that are qualified to fill this job and even fewer that I would really want to fill this job.”

As UWA looks to select its next coach, collegiate experience within the region will likely be a key determining factor in the hire.

UWA interim head football coach Desmond Lindsey resigned Monday, choosing to follow Will Hall to West Georgia.

UWA interim head football coach Desmond Lindsey resigned Monday, choosing to follow Will Hall to West Georgia.

“I think it is important for us to maintain where we are and not lose ground. We want somebody with experience in this area of the country that can recruit Mississippi junior colleges and Alabama high schools, which has made us successful as a football program,” Williamson said. “The preference would be someone who has experience in college. It needs to be somebody who has had experience recruiting, especially in this area.”

Williamson also indicated his desire for the next head coach to employ a system similar to that which made Hall successful during his three-year run at UWA.

“Somebody who could step in and take the systems we have in place as a football team and run with them and not really start over and create a new, whole system for our program,” Williamson said. “There are a few applicants out there that can fit that bill and be a good fit for us as an institution and as a football program.”

UWA is looking to build on the success started by Bobby Wallace and continued by Hall, the latter of which led UWA to at least a share of the Gulf South Conference title for consecutive seasons in 2012 and 2013.

Williamson also told the athletic committee that former Sun Belt Conference commissioner Wright Waters has been assisting UWA in its efforts to find qualified, interested applicants.

“Also was able to get former commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference Wright Waters to assist us with this search,” Williamson said. “He has been able to contact people as a third party, find out who in fact is interested. We had a list of people that we thought might be interested. He was able to make some contacts and find out without it being a public effort.”