UAB Blazers football
UAB Blazers football was the intercollegiate men's football program for the UAB Blazers athletics department.
The Blazers created a club team in 1989 and began competing Division III of the NCAA in 1991. Jim Hilyer was the first head coach, from 1991-1994. Watson Brown took over as head coach in 1995 and oversaw the team's advancement into Division I-A in 1996, and its acceptance into Conference USA in 1999. UAB played its home football games at Legion Field.
Following the 3-9 2006 season, Watson Brown resigned to take the head coaching job at Tennessee Tech, in his home town. The search for a replacement focused first on Louisiana State University assistant Jimbo Fisher, but the University of Alabama Board of Trustees rejected the proposed contract amount. Georgia offensive coordinator Neil Callaway was named head coach on December 17, 2006. He compiled an 18-42 record over five seasons and resigned under pressure on November 27, 2011.
A proposal to build an on-campus football stadium was rejected by the University of Alabama Board of Trustees in 2011. Through its marketing department, the team has sought to establish the University of Memphis as its primary on-field rival, creating the "Battle for the Bones" trophy for the winner of the annual match-up.
Callaway's replacement, Garrick McGee, had even less success in two seasons, going 5-19 before he resigned to join Bobby Petrino's staff at the University of Louisville. He was succeeded by Jacksonville State Gamecocks coach Bill Clark, who engineered a turnaround of fortunes for the 2014 UAB Blazers football team. The team became bowl eligible with a 6-6 record after defeating the Southern Miss Golden Eagles 45-24 on the road on November 29.
The day after that win, speculation grew that the Alabama Board of Trustees were planning to shut down UAB's football program. Students and supporters rallied at the UAB Campus Green and in front of the UAB Administration Building seeking a statement of support from UAB president Ray Watts. Watts announced on December 2 that following a strategic planning process, the university would terminate its football, rifle and bowling programs at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year.
|Jim Hilyer||1991-1994||27-12-2 (.692)|
|Watson Brown||1995-2006||62-74 (.456)|
|Neil Callaway||2007- 2011||18-42 (.300)|
|Garrick McGee||2011-2013||5-19 (.208)|
|Bill Clark||2011-2013||6-6 (.500)|
- Jake Arians, kicker, Buffalo Bills (2001)
- Kyle Bissinger, linebacker, New England Patriots (2007)
- Rodregis Brooks, cornerback, Indianapolis Colts (2001)
- Chris Brown, cornerback, Jacksonville Jaguars (2003)
- Pernell Davis, defensive tackle, Philadelphia Eagles (1999)
- Josh Evans, defensive tackle, Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans (1995-2001), New York Jets (2002-4)
- Carl Fair, running back, Cleveland Browns (2001)
- Eddie Freeman, defensive end/tackle, Kansas City Chiefs (2002-3)
- Darrell Hackney, quarterback, Cleveland Browns (2006), Denver Broncos (2007–)
- Chris Hubbard, offensive lineman, Pittsburgh Steelers (2013-)
- Otis Leverette, defensive end, Washington Redskins (2001-2), San Diego Chargers (2003), San Francisco 49ers (2004)
- Matt McCants, offensive lineman, New York Giants (2012-13), Oakland Raiders (2013-)
- Izell Reese, cornerback/safety, Dallas Cowboys (1998-2001), Denver Broncos (2002), Buffalo Bills (2003-4)
- Dainon Sydney, cornerback, Tennessee Titans (1998-2002), Buffalo Bills (2003)
- Joe Webb, quarterback/wide receiver, Minnesota Vikings (2010–)
- Bryan Thomas, defensive end, New York Jets (2002-)
- Corey White, running back, Green Bay Packers (2007)
- Roddy White, wide receiver, Atlanta Falcons (2005-)
- Julius Wilson, offensive tackle, Miami Dolphins (2007-)
- Zac Woodfin, linebacker, Baltimore Ravens (2005-)
- Cook, Ben (December 17, 2006) "Alabama coaching search takes bizarre twist" Lindy'sSports.com
- Irvine, Steve (November 27, 2011) "Neil Callaway resigns as UAB's football coach." The Birmingham News
- Watts, Ray L. (December 2, 2014) "Message from the President: UAB Athletics Strategic Planning. UAB press release - accessed December 2, 2014
- UAB Blazers football website