|University||University of Alabama at Birmingham|
|NCAA||Division I FBS|
|Athletic director||Brian Mackin|
|Varsity teams||17 intercollegiate sports|
|Football stadium||Legion Field|
|Basketball arena||Bartow Arena|
|Baseball stadium||Jerry D. Young Memorial Field|
|Soccer stadium||West Campus Field|
|Fight song||UAB Fight Song|
Green White Old Gold
The UAB Blazers are the varsity intercollegiate athletic programs of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The school is one of the twelve member institutions of Conference USA (C-USA) and participates in Division I of the NCAA. The school's football program, as with all other C-USA members, participates in the Football Bowl Subdivision (still frequently referred to by its former designation of Division I-A), the higher of two levels of Division I competition in that sport. The UAB football team was led by Garrick McGee until he resigned on Jan. 9, 2013, and currently plays its home games at 71,594-seat Legion Field. The school's men's basketball team plays in 8,508-seat Bartow Arena. The Blazers' colors are forest green and old gold.
While the football team entered post-season play only in the 2004 Hawaii Bowl, the men's basketball program has a long history of success spanning several decades. In addition to football and basketball, UAB also has programs in men's sports for baseball, golf, soccer, and tennis. Women's sports programs include softball, basketball, golf, soccer, bowling, tennis, track and field (indoor and outdoor), cross country, rifle, volleyball and sand volleyball.
In contrast to many other colleges and universities that have decades of tradition, UAB only began its football program in the early 1990s. Jim Hilyer was the first head coach of the Blazers, coaching from 1991-1994. Beginning with the first NCAA sanctioned Division III football team in 1991, UAB quickly moved up the ranks of the collegiate football divisions at a rate which few had foreseen. Coach Watson Brown took over as head coach in 1995 and held the position through the end of the 2006 season, when he left for Tennessee Tech. Neil Callaway was named head coach after the positon was offered to Jimbo Fisher. He served from 2007-2011. Garrick McGee was hired from the University of Arkansas after Callaway was released. He held the post for two years before leaving to accept the offensive coordinator job at University of Louisville with his mentor and former boss, Bobby Petrino. Bill Clark was announced as the Blazers new head coach on January 22, 2014 leaving Jacksonville State University.
UAB made the move to Division I-A, now FBS, football in 1996 and made the jump to Conference USA in 1999. Since then, UAB has made a habit of playing many of college football's traditional powers. In 2000, UAB achieved a monumental victory by beating LSU in Baton Rouge. In 2004, UAB reached yet another milestone earning their first bowl trip in school history, the Hawaii Bowl. Though young, UAB's football program continues to make large strides both in on the field success and in attendance. UAB currently plays its home football games at Legion Field, where the latest average attendance is 23,139 according to NCAA figures.1 However, on February 3, 2011, it was announced that UAB will be moving forward to build a stadium on campus with seating for an estimated 25,000-30,000. Although UAB developed a funding plan that would not require public funds and had significant corporate and private sponsorship, the University of Alabama Board of Trustees refused to approve the oncampus stadium without even a vote of the board members.2
The UAB Blazers, in effect, started their entire athletics program with the creation of a men's basketball team in 1978. Setting the standards high from the start, UAB hired former UCLA, University of Illinois and Memphis head coach Gene Bartow. Known to many as the "Father of UAB athletics", Bartow led the Blazers to almost instant success. In 2004, the school once again gained national attention when it upset No. 1-seeded Kentucky in the second round of the tournament and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. Since their inaugural season, the Blazers have made 14 appearances in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament including 3 Sweet Sixteen appearances and 1 Elite Eight appearance. UAB has also appeared in the NIT a total of 11 times, including 2 appearances in the NIT Final Four.
After only 34 years of basketball, UAB has had 31 winning seasons including memorable wins over Virginia, Kentucky, Louisville, Alabama, Florida, Villanova, Indiana, and Memphis, among others. The Blazers have amassed an impressive 664 wins to only 385 losses since 1978 giving UAB one of the best all-time winning percentages in college basketball. The UAB men's basketball team has been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll many times in school history and as recently as 2010. UAB has been ranked as high as #9 in the nation. Until 1988, UAB played its home games at the Birmingham–Jefferson Convention Complex. Since then, UAB has played its home basketball games in Bartow Arena where the Blazers have won more than 80 percent of its games.
Though largely overshadowed by the men's basketball program at UAB, the Blazers women have a strong history in their own right. Since UAB began a women's basketball program, UAB has won 4 conference championships, made 2 NCAA Tournament appearances, and 5 WNIT appearances as recently as 2013. No team in Conference USA has advanced further than the Blazers' Sweet Sixteen appearance in the NCAA tournament of the 1999-2000 season. The Blazers have also advanced to the Elite Eight of the WNIT. UAB Women's basketball won the WBI championship in 2011.
UAB began a men's soccer program back in 1979. Throughout its history, UAB has enjoyed great success in the men's soccer program. The men's team has been in the NCAA Tournament a total of 7 times including 2 Sweet Sixteen appearances and 1 Elite Eight appearance in 1999. The men's team has been ranked nationally numerous times throughout its history, including top 25 rankings in 16 of the last 18 seasons. One of UAB's biggest wins in the men's team history came when UAB upset the #1-ranked UCLA Bruins in 1997 by a score of 2-0. UAB would upset another #1-ranked team in 2006 when they beat the SMU Mustangs by a score of 2-1.
The men's team plays their home games at UAB's West Campus Field. Since 1993, the men's team has won nearly 80% of its games played at West Campus Field. UAB has frequently been among the national leaders in soccer attendance, finishing as high as 16th nationally in average attendance. The highest attended home soccer game in UAB history came in 2011 when 3,141 fans saw the Blazers defeat Clemson 2-1.
Although many traditions, cheers, and chants take place at each home game, there is one that "stands above the rest," according to current head coach Mike Getman. Led by alumni super-fan Andrew Robillard, who has not missed a UAB men's home soccer match in 22 seasons, the whole student section sings "God Bless America" in unity. The Hillsborough Times has reported this tradition as one of its "12 College Sports Traditions you Don't Want to Miss."
Though only beginning a women's soccer program only in 1996, the UAB women's soccer team has already been in the NCAA Tournament and has also been ranked several times in its history. The UAB women's soccer team has won the Conference USA Championship 3 times in ten years, including the most recent in 2006. Paul Harbin is the head coach of the women's team. Like the men, the women's team plays their home games at UAB's West Campus Field.
Frequently ranked among the nation's better collegiate programs including as high as #8 in 2011, the men's golf program has gained considerable recognition.3 Over the program's history, UAB has made 7 appearances in the NCAA Men's Golf Championship tournament including 6 times in the last 10 years. The UAB golf team has won 2 conference titles including the 2008 Conference USA Championship. Several UAB golfers have gone on to have success as professional golfers including 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell and Garrett Osborn. McDowell won the Haskins Award during his senior season in 2002. UAB's golf team is led by coach Alan Kaufman.
Even though the UAB synchronized swimming team was formed recently, in the 1998-1999 season, the team has quickly established themselves as dominant in the sport having finished numerous times among the Top 5 teams in the nation. Currently, the team is being dropped as a varsity sport from UAB 4
Conference Championships (44)
- Men's Basketball (5) 3-Sun Belt 2-C-USA
- Men's Tennis (0):
- Women's Basketball (0): * Women's Tennis (0):
- Women's Volleyball (0):
- Men's Baseball (0):
- Men's Soccer (0):
- Women's Soccer (0):
- Women's Cross Country (0):
- Men's Golf (0):
- Women's Indoor Track (0):
- Women's Outdoor Track (0):
- Women's Softball (1): 2013
When both teams were members of Conference-USA, the UAB-Memphis football rivalry was called the Battle for the Bones (sometimes known as "The BBQ Bowl") and included both professional and amateur barbecue contests as part of the pregame festivities. The winner of the game received a traveling 100-pound bronze rack of ribs trophy, known as ‘The Bones’ trophy.
The current UAB mascot is a green dragon named Blaze. Former mascots included a strange cartoonish Nordic warrior and perhaps the most beloved Beauregard T. Rooster that met an untimely demise when threatened with legal action by the San Diego Chicken.
UAB athletic events can be heard on the following stations:
- WUHT-FM 107.7 Birmingham/Tuscaloosa/Gadsden/Anniston/Cullman
- WJOX-FM 94.5 Birmingham/Tuscaloosa/Selma/Demopolis
- WPAS-FM 89.1 Mobile/Biloxi/Pascagoula/Gulf Shores
- WGMP AM 1170 Montgomery/Prattville/Selma/Greenville/Troy
- WTKI-AM 1450 Huntsville/Madison
- WEKI-AM 1490 Decatur/Hartselle/Moulton|Athens
- WFXO FM 98.3 Talladega/Ashland/Oxford/Alexander City
- WKLS FM 105.9 Centre/Piedmont/Collinsville/Cedar Bluff
- WSPZ-AM 690 Birmingham/Huntsville/Montgomery
- WACT-AM 1420 Tuscaloosa/Brent/Eutaw
- "2006 National College Football Attendance" (PDF). NCAA. Archived from the original on March 5, 2007. Retrieved March 30, 2007.
- Wolfson, Hannah; Steve Irvine (February 3, 2011). "UAB planning on-campus stadium at Sixth Avenue South, 12th Street". The Birmingham News.