DEFENSIVE COACHING STAFF

DAVID REEVES | Defensive Coordinator | Line Backers

David Reeves was named UAB’s Defensive Coordinator in June of 2016. Prior to his appointment as the Defensive Coordinator, Reeves was the Blazers’ defensive line coach since 2014 and stayed with Coach Clark to help rebuild the program during its two-year hiatus.

With Reeves in charge, the 2017 Blazers’ defense jumped up to 5th in Conference USA in total defense and 41st overall nationally.

The team ended the season ranked 22nd in the country in passing yards allowed and 18th in team passing efficiency defense, both of which were good for 2nd in the conference. Due in large part to lockdown corner Darious Williams’ five interceptions and 15 passes broken up, UAB was 3rd in the conference in total interceptions with 14 on the season. Williams led C-USA in passes defended (20), pass breakups (15) and interceptions (5).

Williams was a First Team All-Conference USA selection, and Reeves also help fellow seniors Tevin Crews and Shaq Jones earn All-Conference USA accolades at linebacker.

Crews had a tremendous senior campaign, finishing with a career-high and team best 102 tackles and 12.0 tackles for loss. He was the only player in C-USA to rank in the top 10 in both categories. Jones also had a productive season finishing with 57 total tackles and a team-high 13 TFLs.
 
Williams’ lock down coverage, combined with constant pressure from guys like Crews and Jones helped UAB finish 4th in the conference as one of only four teams with a positive turnover margin.
The defense especially ramped up when it mattered most, as UAB finished the year ranked 36th in the country (6th in C-USA) in red zone defense and 46th (5th) in third down conversion defense.

Overall, Reeves helped UAB set the program record for FBS wins in a single season (8) C-USA wins (6) and a perfect 6-0 record at home for the first time in program history. The Blazers led C-USA in attendance and appeared in just their second bowl game in program history.

In Reeves first season at UAB, he was an integral part of the Blazers’ remarkable turnaround which saw them finish 6-6 after being 2-10 the year prior.

The Blazers improved 44 spots in total defense in 2014, spearheaded by the defensive line. Reeves’ unit helped UAB tally 34 sacks in his first season, which was 16 more than the year before. The Blazers also finished with 81 TFLs with Reeves, a +21 difference from the 2013 campaign.

At the conclusion of 2014, the UAB defense allowed 29.9 points against, which was an average of 14 points better from 2013 when UAB allowed 43.8 points against.

Leading the way for the defensive front was senior end Diaheem Watkins, who was named a First Team All-Conference USA selection for tallying a team-high 10 sacks. Additionally, Interior lineman Chris Walton earned C-USA Honorable Mention.

Reeves joined the Blazers in 2014 following a year-long stint at Jacksonville State where he also coached the defensive line under the direction of head coach Bill Clark.

In 2013 at JSU, Reeves’ unit ranked first in the Ohio Valley Conference in sacks (52) and third in the league in scoring defense (23.6 ppg). Under Reeves' guidance, two Gamecocks earned All-Ohio Valley Conference honors, including second team selection defensive lineman Caleb Lawrence. Jacksonville State defensive end Chris Landrum was named to the OVC Newcomer squad.

Reeves was the secondary coach at UT Martin in 2012, after coaching the previous five seasons at Southern Arkansas where he was the defensive coordinator his final two years. Reeves was a graduate assistant at the University of Alabama from 2005-06 and was the defensive coordinator at Athens (Ala.) High School from 2000-05.

He is a 1991 graduate of Athens State University.

Reeves and his wife Starr have two sons, Major and Rhett.

 

KYLE TATUM | DEFENSIVE LINE

In Kyle Tatum’s first year as the defensive line coach in 2017, he guided a unit that featured two All-Conference USA performers and a group which ranked in the top 50 nationally in tackles for loss.

As a defensive unit, UAB collectively had 84 tackles for loss for a combined 288 yards, which was paved by the defensive line. The Blazers had no less than three TFL in every game during the 2017 campaign, including reaching double digit TFLs twice (Alabama A&M – 12, UTSA – 10).

Senior tackle Teko Powell and sophomore tackle Garrett Marino were each Honorable Mention All-Conference USA. Powell was huge for UAB in stopping the run, while Marino became a starter halfway through the season and finished with 8.0 TFL, while fellow nose tackle Anthony Rush had 9.0 TFL. On the edge, junior Stacy Keely had a team-best four sacks.

Overall, Tatum helped UAB return from a two-year hiatus in 2017 to set the program record for FBS wins in a season (8), Conference USA wins (6) and finished with a perfect 6-0 record at home for the first time ever. The Blazers’ appearance in the Bahamas Bowl was just the second bowl game in program history.
    
Tatum was named UAB’s defensive line coach in February of 2017 following his time as the Blazers’ strength and conditioning assistant since the Fall of 2016.

Tatum began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Texas State from 2011-2012 under the direction of head coach Dennis Franchione. In 2012 he coached tight ends and was subsequently promoted to defensive tackles coach from 2013-2015.
 
During the 2013 season, defensive lineman Michael Odiari was named Third Team All-Sun Belt. Odiari tripled his sack output between his junior and senior seasons, finishing with 9.0, and was recognized as a unanimous First Team All-Sun Belt Conference defensive lineman.

The Bobcats’ defense finished the year with 28 sacks, averaging 2.25 per contest, good for 61st nationally. The 2014 unit also boasted linebacker David Mayo, who was honored as the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year, in addition to second team selections Craig Mager (linebacker) and David Mims (defensive back).

Prior to entering the coaching profession, Tatum was a four-year varsity football letterman at the University of Alabama from 2002-2006, contributing his efforts to both the offensive and defensive lines. For his standout efforts in the classroom, he earned 2003 Academic All-SEC honors. After racking up 14 tackles during his redshirt freshman year, Tatum transitioned to the offensive line in 2004, starting nine games and 739 snaps at right tackle.
 
He proceeded to start all 12 games in 2005, again at right tackle, which included a 13-10 victory over Texas Tech in the Cotton Bowl, and was recognized as an honorable mention All-SEC offensive lineman. Tatum finished with 16 knockdown blocks during the 2006 season.

Tatum attended Prattville High School in Prattville, Ala., where he had a stellar prep career under the leadership of Bill Clark. Tatum, considered a high school All-American according to numerous publications, was a Birmingham News Dandy Dozen pick his senior year in addition to receiving honorable mention All-State honors. He led the Lions to the quarterfinals of the Class 6A state playoffs his senior year, which ended in a 17-14 defeat to eventual state champion Daphne.

He graduated from Alabama in 2006 with a degree in Business Management.

 

BLAKE SHRADER | DEFENSIVE BACKS

Blake Shrader guided the UAB defensive backs to one of Conference USA’s top units in 2017 which finished as the league’s second ranked pass defense (189.7 yards/game) and third in interceptions (14).
 
Highlighting Shrader’s group was senior cornerback Darious Williams who finished the season as a First Team All-America honoree by Pro Football Focus and a First Team All-Conference USA selection.
 
Williams climbed the ranks as one the nation’s top shutdown corners. He led Conference USA in passes defended (20), interceptions (5) and pass breakups (15), and finished the season tied for fifth nationally with 1.5 passes defended per game.
 
Shrader also developed Broderick Thomas into one of Conference USA’s top and most consistent safeties. Thomas started all 13 games for the Blazers and was second on the team with 95 total tackles en route to earning All-Conference USA Honorable Mention. Thomas had a team-high 66 unassisted tackles and also added three TFL, two interceptions and a forced fumble.  
 
Overall, Shrader helped UAB return from a two-year hiatus in 2017 to set the program record for FBS wins in a season (8), Conference USA wins (6) and finished with a perfect 6-0 record at home for the first time ever. The Blazers’ appearance in the Bahamas Bowl was just the second bowl game in program history.     
 
Shrader began his second stint with the UAB football program in January of 2016.
 
Shrader was a part of UAB’s remarkable turnaround in 2014 as he helped first year head coach Bill Clark and the Blazers reach bowl eligibility for the first time since 2004. Shrader served as the director of player personnel that season.
   
Prior to his return to Birmingham, Shrader spent the 2015 season as a quality control coordinator at the University of Georgia. The Bulldogs were 10-3 in 2015 and capped their season with a 24-17 victory over Penn State in the Taxslayer Bowl.
 
Shrader’s first full-time appointment came in 2013 with Bill Clark at Jacksonville State as the cornerback’s coach. In his lone season with the Gamecocks, JSU went 11-4 and reached the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs, marking the school’s first-ever victories in the NCAA Division I playoffs.  
 
Before JSU, Shrader was a part of Bill Clark’s defensive staff at South Alabama from 2010-12 as a graduate assistant. In 2012, USA’s first year in Sun Belt, the Jaguars ranked second in the league in total defense.
 
Shrader got his coaching start at his alma mater of Auburn University as a defensive quality control assistant from 2008-09.
 
A highly-touted recruit out of Stevenson, Ala., Shrader played safety at Auburn from 2004-07 and graduated in 2008 with a degree in health promotion. He was an all-state performer for North Jackson High School both as a junior and senior.
 
Shrader is married to the former Shanda Thomas.

 

XAVIER ROBINSON | ASSISTANT OF ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE 

Xavier Robinson was named UAB’s defensive backs coach in June of 2016. He joined the Blazers in 2014 as a strength and conditioning coach.

Prior to arriving in Birmingham, Robinson spent the previous 10 years coaching at powerhouse Prattville High School from 2005-14.

Robinson spent his final three years (2011-14) as the varsity defensive backs coach, while he was also the head coach of the freshman team from 2010-12.

During his time at Prattville, Robinson coached many players who went on to have successful Division I careers, including Nick Perry (Alabama), Justin Thomas (Georgia Tech) and Justin Shanks (Florida State).

When Robinson arrived at Prattville in 2005, he was the assistant varsity defensive backs coach and was also the head junior varsity basketball coach from 205-07. In 2008 he was named Prattville’s varsity head basketball coach and held that position until 2014.

As head coach for the Lions’ basketball team, Robinson led Prattville to three consecutive 6A Area Championships (2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11), and was named the Autauga County Boys Basketball Coach of the Year in each of those seasons.

Robinson has one daughter, Dominique.

 

RANDY PIPPIN | CLINIC DIRECTOR


Randy Pippin, the Director of Player Relations, joined the UAB staff in 2015.

In his role, Pippin serves as the chief organizer and communicator for the Blazers’ high school camps and clinics which have continued to increase exponentially over the last two years. He will also be in charge of high school player relations.

Pippin’s other area of expertise is his ties and relationships with NFL personnel. Pippin will have day-to-day interactions with current Blazers and help them reach their goal of playing at the next level through his deep-routed NFL connections.

Pippin has 28 years coaching experience at all different levels, including 14 years as a head coach. Prior to arriving in Birmingham, Pippin spent three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Division II East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma.

Pippin headed to East Central University after two years as the defensive coordinator at East Texas Baptist from 2011-12 where he also headquartered the Texas and Oklahoma Nike Coach of the Year Clinics.

Prior to joining the staff at ETBU, Pippin coached at the high school level as the head coach at The Classical Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Classical Academy finished 12th in the state in 2010 despite being the smallest school in its class.

While in Colorado, Pippin also served as the National Director of the Glazier/Mega Football Coaching Clinics before East Texas Baptist.  He joined Glazier after being the head coach at Northwest Mississippi CC, where he guided the Rangers to the North Division Championship in 2006. While there, he signed and coached future 2nd round pick of the Miami Dolphins Daniel Thomas.

Pippin was also the head coach at the University of West Alabama from 2001-2003. During his time with the Tigers he earned Small College Coach of the Year in Alabama in 2002 after West Alabama defeated Arkansas-Monticello, Delta State, West Georgia and North Alabama in the same season for the first time in school history.

Prior to taking the job at West Alabama, Pippin was the head football coach and athletic director at Middle Georgia College (1998-2000). He guided MGC to two 10-win seasons and made two appearances in the bowl championships, defeating Northwest Mississippi, 41-3, and Lackawanna, 35-7.  He helped Kendrell Bell move on to the NFL, where he was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Pippin also spent two seasons (1996-97) as the offensive coordinator at Tennessee Tech where he enjoyed record breaking success for the Golden Eagles.

Before joining Tennessee Tech, Pippin had a very successful time as the head coach at Trinity Valley CC (1993-95), where he guided the Cardinals to a 24-8-2 record, which included the 1994 Junior College National Championship. During his time at Trinity Valley, he produced 19 all-conference players and six All-Americans. That list includes kicker Matt Bryant and cornerback Al Harris, both who had stellar NFL careers.

The 1994 season saw not just a national championship, but a 12-0 mark and the No. 1 ranking in the NJCAA through the entire season. For his efforts, Pippin was named the NJCAA Coach of the Year and was recently inducted into the TVCC Hall of Fame.

Before being named the head coach at Trinity Valley, Pippin served as the team’s defensive coordinator (1990-92) for three seasons coaching and recruiting several future NFL players.

Pippin’s first full time job was the Defensive Ends Coach at MTSU in 1988-89 where the Murfreesboro school won the OVC and Pippin signed/coached Mike Caldwell, a 10 year NFL Linebacker for the Browns and Eagles and current New York Jets Assistant Head Coach along with Kenny Tippins of the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons.

Pippin started out as a graduate assistant coach at Tennessee Tech University in 1986-87 in charge of the Outside Linebackers.

Pippin, a Mesquite, Texas, native played his football for North Mesquite High School, Cisco Junior College and Tennessee Tech University where he obtained his two degrees and began his coaching career. Pippin is married to the former Sally Horton and they have four girls; Natalie, Holly, Libby and Gracie. He published an award winning instructional book on the 4-2-5 defense called "CHAOS" which is still available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble bookstores.

 

NICK GENTRY | OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

UAB football head coach Bill Clark announced Nick Gentry as the 10th assistant coach on March 1, 2018. Gentry's main responsibility will be working with the outside linebackers.

Gentry, who played for Clark in high school at Prattville, went on to win two national championships as a defensive lineman at the University of Alabama in 2009 and 2011. In 2011, he was named Alabama's Co-Defensive MVP with Courtney Upshaw and helped lead the Crimson Tide to a national championship victory over LSU in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
 
Upon graduation, Gentry's coaching career began as a defensive analyst at the University of Tennessee in 2012 where he worked primarily with defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri.  
 
After one year at Tennessee, Gentry joined Clark's staff at Jacksonville State in 2013 as a graduate assistant on the defensive line and helped guide the Gamecocks to an 11-4 overall record and an appearance in the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs.   
 
Gentry was then promoted to a full-time assistant in 2014 coaching outside linebackers and defensive ends. He would coach there through 2017 and helped lead the Gamecocks to a national championship appearance versus North Dakota State while coaching three time All-American and Buck Buchanan award winner Darius Jackson.
 
He also coached two-time All-American Chris Landrum as well as Academic All-Americans Joseph Roberts and Dalton Campbell while at JSU.
 
Gentry is married to the former Magen Mathis and they have one son Brennan.

 

GARETT MURPHY | DEFENSIVE GRADUATE ASSISTANT

Bio Coming Soon!

 

 

 

 

JAY SIMPSON | DEFENSIVE BACKS

Bio Coming Soon!