Mayor Bell, Coach Clark speak out on concerns surrounding UAB football's future

Mayor Bell, Coach Clark speak out on concerns surrounding UAB football's future

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - There are growing concerns about the future of UAB football and now Birmingham mayor William Bell is weighing in.

He was at Saturday's game against Louisiana Tech where spoke out in support of the program. Mayor Bell says that the city is 100 percent behind the program. But, the Mayor is not the final decision maker.

When asked point blank if the program would continue past 2016, he said the only thing he could guarantee was that was that the city was supportive and that they would do everything they could to make sure blazer football continues.

The concerns began after former players expressed concern that a university wide strategic planning initiative could mean the end of the football program.

They cite the fact that the school has not scheduled any out of conference games past 2016 and that a potential contract extension for Coach Bill Clark has been placed on hold.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bell says he's not sure what the results of the study will be or what direction the university will go, but he does say the position of city and it's leaders is clear.

"Over the past couple of weeks I've gotten calls from people all over this city, who are supportive of UAB Blazer football. It includes some Alabama fans, it includes some Auburn fans, because they want to see this program thrive. And if we allow anything to happen to football, it will impact everything else, our baseball team, our basketball team," Mayor Bell said.

For the first time, head coach Bill Clark spoke publicly on the speculation surrounding his program.

"No knock to anybody, but I wouldn't have come here for a program that wouldn't be here. I wouldn't have left a great job, my almamater for that. You know and I think the big thing for us is when good things are going on...lets this is just the first step for us," Clark said.

UAB Athletics Director Brian Mackin also released a statement on Friday saying that the department is in the midst of developing a strategic plan and that it would premature to speculate on the pending results of that study.

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