UAB Blazers football
|UAB Blazers Football|
|Athletic director||Brian Mackin|
|Head coach||Garrick McGee
2nd year, 5–19 (.208)
|Home stadium||Legion Field|
|Stadium surface||Field Turf|
|All-time record||107–128–2 (.456)|
|Postseason bowl record||0–1|
Green and Old Gold
|Marching band||UAB Marching Blazers|
The UAB Blazers football team represents the University of Alabama at Birmingham and competes as part of the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A), as a member of the East Division of Conference USA (C-USA). UAB plays its home games at Legion Field, which is located off-campus in Birmingham, Alabama. The current head coach of the UAB Blazers is Garrick McGee. With a capacity of 71,594, Legion Field is currently the third largest college football stadium in the state of Alabama and the 40th largest football stadium in the US. On February 3, 2011, it was announced that UAB would be moving forward with plans to build a horseshoe-shaped stadium on campus with an estimated seating capacity of around 30,000.
The origins of football at UAB begin with the play of an organized club football team in 1989. After two years competing as a club football team, on March 13, 1991, UAB President Charles McCallum and athletic director Gene Bartow announced that the university would compete in football as a NCAA Division III team beginning in the fall of 1991, with Jim Hilyer serving as the first head coach. From 1991 to 1992, UAB competed as a Division III Independent, and during this period, the Blazers compiled an 11–6–2 overall record. During this period, the Blazers played their first all-time game on September 7, 1991, a 28–0 loss at Millsaps, and notched their first all-time win on September 21, 1991, a 34–21 victory at Washington & Lee.
After only a pair of seasons at the Division III level, a NCAA ruling resulted in the Blazers being reclassified as a I-AA team for the 1993 season. The reclassification was a result of the NCAA prohibiting a school's athletic program from being multi-divisional, and since UAB already competed in Division I in other sports, the move became necessary. In their first game as a I-AA team, the Blazers would lose to Troy State 37–3 before a home crowd on September 6, 1993. By 1994, the Blazers would play their first I-A opponent against Kansas. Following the 1994 season, coach Hilyer would resign with Watson Brown being announced as the program's second ever coach on January 2, 1995.
During the 1995 season the Blazers would notch their first ever victory over a I-A opponent on the road against North Texas by a final score of 19–14. From 1993 to 1995, UAB competed as a Division I-AA Independent, and during this period compiled a 21–12 overall record before making the jump to Division I-A for the 1996 season.
On November 9, 1995, UAB was officially informed by the NCAA that the school had met all requirements for reclassification, and as such the Blazers would enter the 1996 season as an I-A Independent. In their first I-A game, UAB was defeated by in-state rival Auburn 29–0, and would finish their first I-A season with a 5–6 overall record. Already a participating member in other sports, on November 13, 1996, Conference USA commissioner Mike Slive announced that UAB would be admitted to the league as a football playing member for the 1999 season.
Since the transition to I-A, 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.
After being the face of the program for twelve years, on December 9, 2006, Watson Brown resigned as UAB's head coach to take the head coaching position at Tennessee Tech. Following Brown's resignation, former Alabama player and Georgia offensive coordinator Neil Callaway was named head coach on December 17, 2006. Callaway led the Blazers to the school's worst season (2–10), dropping the program's all-time record under .500 for the first time in school history.
On November 27, 2011, Callaway was fired as UAB's head coach having compiled a record of 18 wins and 42 losses (18–42) during his five years with the Blazers. On December 4, 2011, UAB officials announced they hired Garrick McGee to serve as the fourth head coach in the history of the program.
All-time bowl results
Located to the west of campus in the Graymont neighborhood of Birmingham, the Blazers play their home games at Legion Field. Construction on the stadium began in 1926 and was completed in 1927 with a seating capacity of 21,000. Subsequent expansions would raise its capacity to 81,000 at its peak only to have it reduced to 72,000 with the removal of the upper deck in 2004. The Blazers have utilized the facility since the inaugural 1991 season, and have played all but two home games at Legion Field throughout their history. The only home games not played at Legion included a contest at Lawson Field in 1992, and a contest at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in 1998. At present, UAB is under contract with the City of Birmingham to utilize the facility through the 2013 season.
The prospect of constructing an on-campus stadium has been debated since the mid-1990s. By 1999, former head coach Watson Brown stated that UAB would eventually need to construct a facility comparable to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium at Louisville. On February 3, 2011, university officials announced that UAB will be moving forward with plans to build a horseshoe-shaped stadium on campus with an estimated seating capacity of around 30,000 as part of a new campus master plan.
On September 16, 2011 UAB vice president Richard Margison outlined preliminary plans for the proposed on-campus football stadium to the University of Alabama board of trustees. The plan calls for a horse-shoe stadium that would seat 27,511 with an additional 2,500 lawn seats in one end zone. It would also include 33 suites and 24 loge boxes. The proposed cost for the stadium complex is $66 million with a total project cost of $75 million.
Current NFL Players