The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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UAB makes their presence known after program cancellation in 2014

Photo by Courtesy of UAB Athletics

In 2017, the UAB football program started back up after being cut for three years for financial reasons. About one year after their return, UAB looks to take on Texas A&M.

After closing its doors for three years and resurfacing in 2017, the University of Alabama-Birmingham football program has become the No.1 team in Conference USA with a 9-1 record — the best start in the school’s history.
During their 2014-2015 football season, the UAB administration cut the football program, saying it wasn’t financially sustainable. At the time, head coach Bill Clark was in his first year with the team. He said the decision sent a ripple effect through staff, players and fans.
“My first thought was I had to find my players places to play and my coaches jobs,” Clark told The Washington Post in October. “That took up a lot of my time the first few months.”
Six months after the dismissal of the program, more than $27 million was raised and used to bring Blazers football back. Clark signed a five-year contract and was given two years to start a program that included players, staff and new facilities.
“We needed to go after older kids, mostly junior college kids,” Clark told The Washington Post. “What we told them was, ‘We aren’t hoping you play — you have to play.’ We weren’t just selling them hope. We were selling them a promise.”
In September of 2017, during their first season back as a UAB football team, the Blazers went 8-5, and qualified for the Bahamas Bowl. Clark had previously led the team to a bowl game in 2014, though it didn’t get a chance to appear in the game since the football program was terminated shortly after.
Now, with its first and only loss in week two of the season and earning its first divisional title, UAB has continued into the 2018 season with its head held high. The Blazers have also made their way onto the Top 25 Coaches Poll for the first time since 2004, taking the 25th spot.
Blazer redshirt junior linebacker Fitzgerald Mofor said after he heard the news about the ranking on Sunday, he was in disbelief and is excited to prove UAB’s spot on the field.
“Honestly, I probably must have looked at it maybe 10 times yesterday even though I knew it was there,” Mofor said. “It’s just a great accomplishment. It’s something that we set out as a goal in the beginning of the season. It’s just something to work off.”
UAB will travel to Texas A&M on Saturday and offer up a non-conference challenge for the Aggies. A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher, who was up for the head coach position at UAB in 2004 while an offensive coordinator at LSU, said UAB will be treated as an SEC-style opponent despite not being in the conference.
“This is a great football team, UAB,” Fisher said. “They can flat out play. No matter who you play, whether you’re playing Alabama or you’re playing UAB, you’re playing Auburn, you’re playing Georgia, you’re playing LSU, you’re playing Arkansas, it doesn’t matter. This team right here is in the Top 25. They’re just like another SEC team.”

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