SWAC Commissioner: 'We want to be here’

SWAC coming back to Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - If Birmingham is becoming a sports destination city, the Southwestern Athletic Conference wants to be part of that mix.

While it has moved its events to other cities in recent years, new commissioner Charles McClelland, who just moved from Houston to Birmingham, says "we want to be here".

To that end, the final round of the SWAC basketball tournament will take place at Bill Harris Arena Friday and Saturday, next door to Crossplex which recently hosted SWAC's indoor track and field championship.

McClelland credits Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin for showing the SWAC he wants it in the Magic City.

"What brought us back is a dynamic mayor. Mayor Woodfin stepped out and said we want the SWAC athletics,” says McClellan.

"He's been a tremendous partner," says McClelland, an accountant by trade.

He says SWAC is strong financially and generates about eight million dollars of economic impact. McClelland wants to add more legendary jerseys to SWAC’s office walls while also helping to graduate more student athletes.

He says the conference has partnered with Birmingham schools to bring seniors to Friday's championship games for a college fair that will allow schools to offer acceptance and even scholarships on the spot.

"What we’re trying to do is show the city what the SWAC is worth to Birmingham, tie that into the educational component and let everybody know that we want to be here,” says McClelland.

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