UNA introduces Bobby Wallace as new head football coach

After the announcement of UNA’s new head football coach Monday, university officials introduced Bobby Wallace Tuesday night in front of a packed audience in the UNA Performance Center.

Wallace will be the ninth head coach at UNA after the recent resignation of Terry Bowden who left for the University of Akron before Christmas. Wallace, who is returning to UNA for the second time as head coach, is coming back home and plans to help with the transitional process to Division I athletics.

“This is a very special place for me and my family,” said Wallace. “It really is great to be back home and it was 10 great years and the longest that I have ever been in my adult life. It’s just so great to be able to come back to a place with so many supporters, friends and memories.”

Wallace put the UNA football program on the highest of standards of winning success during his 10 year tenure at UNA with three straight national championships. After leaving the Lions, Wallace continued on with coaching stints at Temple and recently at West Alabama before retiring in 2010. Because of Wallace’s previous success at UNA, Linder emphasized that this isn’t a hire for what Wallace accomplished in the past but for what he will bring to UNA in the future.

“Today is a special day to where a man and a moment can come together with it happening here at UNA,” said Linder. “From the time we started the process and all the phone calls that we took, it was Coach Wallace that knocked all the other candidates out of the ball park. We are about graduating champions and that is what Coach Wallace is all about.”

UNA President Bill Cale had similar sentiments about Wallace rejoining the UNA athletic family.

“We are delighted that Coach Wallace and his family are following their hearts and home again after a long journey,” he said. “We want a program that walks with pride as an ambassador of this university and someone who will guide us through the transition to Division I and there is no doubt that Coach Wallace is the right person at the right time.”

During Bowden’s tenure as head coach, recruiting transfer players was the way to go for the UNA football program, but for Wallace, recruiting high school students in the Shoals and across the region was the main priority to continue the success of the program, along with getting a different style of coaches surrounding him.

“I don’t believe in that mentality and I have to change it,” said Wallace. “I believe we will be able to get our share of talented players in the state of Alabama. This did happen quick and I haven’t been able to develop a staff but I will hire good people, because good people (are) what make good coaches.”

Rodney Howard, a member of the UNA board of trustees, expressed optimism about Wallace coming once again to UNA as its new head football coach.

“I believe he will make a real contribution to unify everyone in the community and to local supporters of this great university, and to help the university achieve its goals,” he said. “I do think the board has laid out a program of excellence at this great university. Under the leadership of Dr. Cale and this program of excellence, they do not leave anyone out. There are no goals we cannot accomplish with unity and purpose.”

Executive Editor Lucy Berry contributed to this story.