4 reasons why Birmingham loves UAB Football

Photo from UAB Athletics Facebook page.

Move over Rocky, Rudy and the 1980 US Hockey team.

UAB Football is the Cinderella story of 2018, not only here in Birmingham, but in the entire nation.

Last night, the Blazers capped off its miracle championship season with a 37-13 victory over Mid-American Conference champion Northern Illinois in the Boca Raton Bowl.  Champions of Conference USA , the team finished the 2018 season 11-3 in its 2nd season back after being disbanded as a team four years ago.

UAB
Blaze statue at the UAB Collat School of Business building. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now.

A cinderella story, the last time a college football team was disbanded and reorganized in two years was the notorious SMU football death penalty in the 1980s.  For nearly 40 years, the historic SMU football program has yet to recover. The Blazers changed that script.

Birmingham has fallen in love with this team.  In honor of this memorable 2018 season, Bham Now made a list of 5 reasons Birmingham loves UAB.

We love the Coach

Head coach Bill Clark and team via- usatoday

Coach Clark could have gone anywhere. Period.  Instead he rebuilt the football team from scratch and notched a 19-8 record in his first two years. Winner of the Eddie Robinson coach of the year award, Clark’s tenure at UAB has been simply inspirational.

We love the players

Screenshot from the UAB Football Twitter page

Because of the temporary disruption in 2014, UAB fielded a team 35 seniors last night. As of Monday, 31 are current graduates. Great players. Great students. The best of college athletics. That’s why we love them.

We love UAB’s football commitment to Children’s Harbor

It is the newest and best tradition in all of college football. For the past two homecoming games, UAB football players have worn the names of Children’s Harbor patients on the back of their uniforms.

“We talk a lot about playing for the name on the front of the jersey,” Head Coach Bill Clark said. “This is our chance to play for the name on the back.”

Known as a world class medical teaching and research institution, this tradition at UAB transcends sports.

We love UAB Football’s commitment to Birmingham

Last week, the city of Birmingham held a ground-breaking for the new Multi-Purpose Stadium next to the BJCC. Without UAB commitment to be the stadium’s first occupant, it is doubtful the facility would ever have been built.

Along with the stadium, the athletic program has poured millions into upgrading their facilities including sharing BVAA Compass Field with the new Birmingham Legion Football Club (soccer).

Maintaining the momentum

Graphic from UAB Football twitter feed.

What’s next for UAB Football? Early national signing day, which is today, and after the National Championship game the final rankings will be released.

Will the Blazers end the season in the final top 25 rankings?

We know one thing at Bham Now. Regardless of the final ranking, this UAB Football team is number #1 in Birmingham.

  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.