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UAB Announces New Athletics Foundation

UAB is rebuilding its football program one step at a time. The UAB Athletics Foundation is just the next step in that process.

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It had been rumored for a few months, and on Tuesday, UAB wrapped up the process and officially formed the UAB Athletics Foundation.

The 501(c)3 organization will be one that attempts to sustain and support all UAB athletics programs.

"This is a great day for all of our athletics programs," UAB athletic director Mark Ingram said in a UAB press release. "You can feel the growing excitement around UAB Athletics. I have never seen anything like it."

The foundation is one more than likely modeled after similar organizations at the University of Alabama and Auburn University. UAB's will encourage alumni to contribute financially and offer any and all support to the various athletics programs.

According the release, the foundation also has goals to support and enhance the construction and renovation of "first class, high-quality athletic facilities for UAB’s teams through strategic philanthropic initiatives set forth by the university’s Athletics Department."

Head football coach Bill Clark has been adamant about getting this foundation started, and it appears he has gotten his wish.

"We talk about doing things the right way and about being excellent," Clark said. "We now have a much needed tool to help us raise money for facilities, player development and leadership initiatives. Let’s keep the momentum going!"

An exclamation point in a given statement? Now that is excitement.

There is an issue with this foundation though. It is comprised of 24 board members, a number of which may or may not fully support UAB athletics. People like Ray Watts, Robert Witt, Karen Brooks, Johnny Johns, and Finis St. John have drawn criticism from various Blazer backers in the past for their perceived disdain for the Birmingham campus.

But those questionable choices are balanced by people that clearly have the full support of UAB fans and alumni. Justin Craft, Don Hire, Jimmy Filler, and Hatton Smith have been major helps in the time of crisis for Blazer athletics, and their presence on this board should provide hope.

"I am thrilled with the announcement about the formation of the UAB Athletics Foundation," Smith said. "This is a great example of a successful collaboration among UAB supporters, the UAB administration, and the University System Trustees. Clearly, this type of partnership is a great sign for the future of UAB athletics but, more importantly, for the City of Birmingham and the State of Alabama."

The full list of UAB Athletics Foundation board members are:
Allen Bolton
Tom Brannan
Tommy Brigham
Karen P. Brooks
Justin Craft
Jimmy Filler
Mike Goodrich II
Miller Gorrie
Ray Hayes
Donald Hire
Barbara Humphrey
Mark Ingram
Johnny Johns
John R. Jones
Jimmy Lee
Craft O’Neal
Harold Ripps
Britt Sexton
Hatton Smith
Merrill Stewart
Finis St. John IV
Mike Thompson
Ray L. Watts
Robert W. Witt