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The Comeback Town: The fairy tale story of Ray Watts and UAB football

Don’t you love stories with  happy endings?

Once upon a time in the sleepy village of Birmingham, Alabama, an evil UAB President Ray Watts (or his Trustee Roundtable) made the decision to terminate UAB football.

The UAB students took up arms, the faculty revolted, and the townspeople arose.

Chicken Little ran through the streets yelling, “The sky is falling—the sky is falling.”

There was distrust everywhere.

Dr. Watts was the Big Bad Wolf—and he was going to blow our UAB house down.

But then a miracle happened…

Glinda, the good witch of the South, smiled down on UAB and as quickly as you can say ‘Abracadabra,’ beauty kissed the beast, the ugly duckling matured into a swan, and UAB turned into a handsome prince…

  • UAB football was reinstated
  • A new athletic director was selected
  • Generous business people donated much needed money at the 11th hour
  • Coach Bill Clark signed a five year contract
  • A new football facility was announced
  • The UA Board of Trustees committed to support a long term lease for a new football stadium
  • A study was initiated by the BJCC that will likely result in a new stadium
  • The UAB football foundation was established
  • UAB football recruiting is going better than expected*
  • UAB revealed its 2017 non-conference football schedule

Kind of takes your breath away.

When the history of UAB is written, this past year will go down as one of the greatest years in UAB and Birmingham history.

It’s difficult to comprehend, but one the best things that may have ever happened to UAB and Birmingham will be the termination of UAB football.

We reaffirmed what we already knew–Birmingham’s not going anywhere without UAB and UAB is not going anywhere without Birmingham.

We proved—maybe for the first time ever– that we could work together as a community to achieve a meaningful goal.

And we will never be able to use the excuse again that we in Birmingham are losers and we cannot do anything right.

This is truly a Birmingham and UAB fairy tale.

And here’s our happy ending…

“Everyone lived happily ever after.”

*According to Kevin Scarbinsky: The latest bright spot is the mid-year signing class of 19 players. It’s the top-rated class in Conference USA, and it includes players who started their college careers at Alabama, Notre Dame, LSU, Georgia and Michigan State.

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Birmingham Post-Herald (BPH) is Birmingham, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

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