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UAB President Dr. Ray Watts on the success of the school, team

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Times staff report

As president, how proud of you of what the coach, staff and players have accomplished?

“What Coach Clark and his staff and players accomplished this year is something of which we all – UAB students, faculty, staff, alumni, fans and supporters – are tremendously proud.

UAB football has a bright future, and there are many people to thank – both inside and outside of the organization – who played a role in building and supporting the success we’ve seen on the field.”

How does this comeback story – culminating with a Bowl win — give locals more confidence in their community and something to rally around? 

“It is easy to rally around those whose dedication to excellence results in success, and it has been exciting to see UAB football galvanize so much support and energy in Birmingham and beyond.”

“UAB has a standard of excellence across all areas of our mission that drives transformational education, research, economic development, community service and patient care, and that expectation of excellence extends to UAB Athletics.”

“When football returned, it was with a commitment to the same standard of excellence that has driven UAB’s growth and seen us reach our $1 billion goal in the largest fundraising campaign in our history, exceed $7 billion in annual economic impact, reach record enrollment year after year, and continue to increase research funding while serving our community and reaching more patients with innovative, world-class care.”

What does the team’s success do for the institution’s and city’s image, given everything the city has been through in the past? In other words, we see positive national stories (New York Times, ESPN) about Birmingham as a result of the football team?

“UAB continues to experience unprecedented success and recognition across all areas of our mission. In 2018, Times Higher Education ranked UAB the No. 1 Young University in the United States and Top 10 in the world.”

“The success of our football program is a story that embodies the fighting spirit that has defined UAB and Birmingham, so it is a great way for people everywhere to be exposed to what UAB is all about.”

To read about how the Birmingham business community helped to save UAB football, click here.