By Erica Wright
The Birmingham Times
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and the City Council on Tuesday recognized the bowl-bound University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) football team for a winning season and becoming conference champions.
The team won the Conference USA Championship after just two full seasons of having their football program reinstated.
The Blazers beat Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders 27-25 on December 1 to become 2018 Conference USA Champs. UAB (10-3) faces the Northern Illinois Huskies (8-5) in the Boca Raton Bowl on December 18 in Boca Raton, Florida.
In addition to being named 2018 Coach of the Year by The Sporting News this week, UAB head football coach Bill Clark on Tuesday also got to be “Mayor for the Day” during the council meeting at City Hall.
“When we say family, that’s how we feel, so everybody in this room, everybody in our city and our community and everybody at UAB, we truly feel like this is family,” said Clark. “We led our conference in attendance last year, I think we probably led it again this year . . . I can’t tell you how much we appreciate everything you guys do for us … we’re very humbled by this and I will pass this along to the team in practice today.”
Woodfin presented the team with a proclamation that said in part, “. . . the City of Birmingham is thrilled to congratulate the players, coaches, staff and fans of UAB football for an incredible journey filled with sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears and victory. Birmingham has so much pride for this team and its incredible story. The Magic City will be cheering you on in Boca Raton. Congratulations on your first ever conference championship.”
City Councilor Wardine Alexander, a graduate of UAB, said she was proud of her alma mater.
“I am very excited about what the team is doing for the city . . . When I first went to UAB and there were only buildings 1, 2 and 3 but I do appreciate the reference to the family, because we know the family sacrifices a lot for the coach . . . Go Blazers,” she said.
In other business, the city council recognized Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service for getting a Class 1 rating from the Insurance Service Office for the first time in history for fire protection. That stellar rating means lower homeowners insurance for Birmingham residents.