Bolt bolts to UAB

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 13, 2003

Now only Mike Turk has been at Troy State as long as Larry Blakeney.

Troy State defensive coordinator Wayne Bolt, who came to Troy State with Blakeney in 1991, exchanged his cardinal and black for the green and gold of UAB. Bolt informed Blakeney of his decision Sunday and will begin work with the Blazers Wednesday in the same capacity.

Bolt met with the defensive players Monday at 4:30 p.m.

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"It surprised me a little bit; that it's UAB was the biggest thing," junior linebacker Robby Farmer said.

Farmer was not the only Trojan who was surprised by Bolt's decision.

"I was a little surprised," Blakeney said. "I knew they were going to talk to him and make him an offer. (Sunday) he got the call and accepted. It's disappointing."

Bolt met Blakeney when the two were assistant coaches at Auburn in 1981. Bolt coached tight ends until 1985 and left for Clemson. He returned to Auburn in 1990 and moved to Troy State with Blakeney in 1991.

"I go all the way back to 1981 with the friendship with Wayne," Blakeney said. "It's not an easy decision but I don't have any choice but to find another man to replace him."

Players said they were saddened by Bolt's decision but they understood it.

"The meeting started out with everyone cutting up and joking around," sophomore linebacker Bernard Davis said. "Then coach Bolt told us that he was leaving and he started to get emotional. It moved from a fun atmosphere to an emotional one to one where everyone understood why he did it."

Farmer also said he understood Bolt's decision.

"He told us he had to do what was in the best interest of his wife and family and that finances were involved in it," Farmer said.

People close to the situation indicated Bolt would make in the neighborhood of $25,000 more in Birmingham.

Blakeney said he would move quickly in the search for a replacement. He said he did not have time to do a nationwide search for a replacement so the person he hired would be someone familiar to the program.

"The person will have had experience as a coordinator but will probably not be one right now," Blakeney said. "The person will probably be experiencing a promotion."

Although he did not rule out the possibility that a current assistant could be promoted to the position, Blakeney said he was leaning towards hiring a new person.

He did not provide a timetable for the new hire, but said it should come fairly soon.

Bolt did not return calls by The Messenger and UAB head coach Watson Brown could not be reached for comment.