BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The comeback story of UAB football is a story that writes itself. A team back from the dead is now blazing with success after making history this season winning a conference title and a bowl game.
"I think our team really showed a lot of resolve in that this year. Going to Boca Raton and being so successful there. They clearly saw that while it is fun, it’s also a business trip and I think our team looked at the game in a different way,” UAB Director of Athletics Mark Ingram said.
Some say the rebirth of UAB football could make for a heck of a movie. It’s something Ingram has joked about with head coach Bill Clark.
"I said to a few recruits, you know you don’t need to be thinking about what position you’ll play where. What you need to be thinking about is which actor is going to play your part in the movie and then I would joke and say Coach Clark wants Brad Pitt and if that’s the case I’m lobbying for George Clooney,” Ingram said.
Ingram says the success of athletics is having an impact off the field as well. A recent Birmingham Business Alliance economic study shows for every 1,000 UAB students $50 million is pumped onto the area’s economy.
"When we talk to people about making gifts to our program, what we talk about is how athletics helps the university grow its enrollment and now that impacts the community. So regardless of who you cheer for on Saturday, making an investment in UAB athletics is making an investment in the community,” Ingram said.
Ingram has faith the football program will continue to shine. "It becomes who were are. Going to bowl games shouldn’t be a surprise to us. This is something we plan on doing every year,” Ingram added.
There have been big investments made in the program over the past two years including a new football complex with a covered practice field. Also a new downtown stadium is expected to be UAB’s home come 2021. Last year, Coach Bill Clark got a five-year contract extension making him the highest paid Conference USA coach. He also won the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award this year.