UNA’s new football coach is Chris Willis

FLORENCE, Ala. – A new era in the University of North Alabama’s football team begins on Thursday.

The university has named Chris Willis, longtime assistant, as the Lions’ new head coach.

WHNT News 19’s Taylor Tannebaum is in Florence for the announcement.  We’ll post more information shortly.

The news comes just a couple of days after Bobby Wallace announced his retirement.  Wallace has served as the lions’ head coach for 15 seasons.

“The great thing about what he’s built here is it’s a great organization, with a strong foundation, and we have momentum right now and we want to capitalize on that,” said UNA athletic director Mark Linder.

An announcement this quick would seem to point to an in-house candidate taking over as head coach.  Wallace mentioned during his retirement press conference on Tuesday that there were people on his staff qualified for the job.  Chris Willis is the most senior member on the coaching staff.  The defensive coordinator has been with UNA for ten years.  The hiring announcement comes at a critical time for UNA as the university is set to make the move to Division I in 2018.