|This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2015)|
|University||University of Alabama at Birmingham|
|Athletic director||Shannon Ealy (interim)|
|Varsity teams||18 intercollegiate sports|
|Basketball arena||Bartow Arena|
|Baseball stadium||Jerry D. Young Memorial Field|
|Soccer stadium||West Campus Field|
|Fight song||UAB Fight Song|
Forest Green Old Gold
The UAB Blazers are the varsity intercollegiate athletic programs of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The school is one of the fourteen member institutions of Conference USA (C-USA) and participates in Division I of the NCAA. The school's men's basketball team plays in 8,508-seat Bartow Arena. The Blazers' colors are forest green and old gold. The men's basketball program has a long history of success spanning several decades. In addition to 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, volleyball and sand volleyball.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham sponsors teams in six men's and nine women's NCAA sanctioned sports:
Men's Intercollegiate Sports
Women's Intercollegiate Sports
- ‡ = Bowling competes as an independent.
- # = Rifle is technically a men's sport, but men's, women's, and co-ed teams all compete against each other; UAB has a women's team that competes in the Southeastern Air Rifle Conference.
- * = Sand volleyball is a fully sanctioned NCAA sport which will have its first national championship in the spring of 2016. UAB will compete as an independent.
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 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.
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.
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 a deal with Jimbo Fisher collapsed. After five seasons, Callaway was dimissed, and 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, replaced by Bill Clark.
In 2000, UAB achieved a monumental victory by beating LSU in Baton Rouge. In 2004, UAB reached earned its only bowl game, falling in the Hawaii Bowl to Hawaii. In 2011, an effort to build an on-campus stadium failed to gain approval by the University of Alabama board of trustees; this served as a harbinger of the program's eventual termination following the 2014 season.
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."
UAB is expected to begin play at BBVA Compass Field, a new 2,500-seat venue, by Fall 2015.
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. Harold Warren is the current head coach of the women's team. Like the men, the women's team plays their home games at UAB's West Campus Field but will also move to BBVA Compass Field beginning in Fall 2015.
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. 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.
The UAB synchronized swimming team was formed in the 1998-1999 season and quickly established themselves as dominant in the sport having finished numerous times among the Top 5 teams in the nation. The team has since been dropped as a varsity sport from UAB
Conference Championships (6)
- Men's Basketball (5) 3 – Sun Belt; 2 – Conference USA
- Women's Softball (1): 1 – Conference USA
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 named Blaze the Viking in 1993 and a rooster, aptly named Beauregard T. Rooster, which remained the school's mascot until 1992 when UAB was threatened with legal action by the San Diego Chicken over trademark issues.
Blazers ISP Radio Network
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
- "Jimbo Fisher glad Alabama trustees nixed his deal to become UAB's head coach (Kevin Scarbinsky)". AL.com.
- Gray, Jeremy (December 2, 2014). "It's official: UAB kills football program". AL.com. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- Jim Bakken. "UAB - UAB News - $1.5 million BBVA Compass gift supports on-campus soccer facility at UAB". uab.edu.
- "Golfstat Ranks UAB No. 8 In The Nation - UAB Athletics Official Athletic Site". cstv.com.
- "Birmingham Sports". al.com.