Category Archives: UAB

Birmingham at mercy of outside interests

Sharecroppers
Sharecroppers

A sharecropper is someone who raises crops for the owner of a piece of land and is paid a portion of the money from the sale of the crops.

We in Birmingham have always been controlled by outside landlords.

Birmingham is the city of iron and steel and historically U.S. Steel controlled every aspect of our lives-politics, business, and people.  U.S. Steel is headquartered in Pittsburgh and was for much of Birmingham’s history our largest employer.  Birmingham’s labor was first to be laid off and last to be rehired.  All decisions favored Pittsburgh over Birmingham, and of course, all profits were sent up north.

Fortunately, U.S. Steel is no longer our largest employer, but unfortunately we are still being impacted. February 5th, U.S. Steel announced it could lay off up to 1,840 workers here.

But even though we are not now totally dependent on U.S. Steel, we are still controlled by outsiders. Continue reading Birmingham at mercy of outside interests

UAB beat Saban & 5 other things I learned from writing about the UAB football fiasco

Nick Saban, Football Coach at the University of Alabama
Nick Saban, Head Football Coach at the University of Alabama

Yes, it’s true.

On September 23, 2000 the UAB Blazers beat LSU 13 to 10 and spoiled LSU’s homecoming.  Nick Saban was the LSU Coach and Jimbo Fisher, now head coach at FSU, was an assistant.

I also learned…

It wasn’t just the termination of the UAB program that made folks angry, but how it was executed.  There are a lot of good people who were hurt by the decision, but more importantly, there was a great deal of resentment because of the way it was handled (or not handled).  Rumors swirled weeks before–then after the final game of the season the historic announcement was made.  UAB students, employees, and donors felt they were lied to and betrayed.  Continue reading UAB beat Saban & 5 other things I learned from writing about the UAB football fiasco

Ray Watts: A good man at the wrong place at the wrong time

Dr. Ray Watts, President UAB
Dr. Ray Watts, President UAB

I am dumbfounded by the unfair personal attacks against Dr. Ray Watts and UAB’s decision to shut down football.

We say we want brave leaders who are willing to make unpopular decisions when it’s for the greater good—but that certainly is not how we are responding.

It appears almost everyone—student, public, and media—are unanimously dumping on Dr. Watts.  These are the same folks who had the opportunity for years to support Blazer football, but were missing in action.

Continue reading Ray Watts: A good man at the wrong place at the wrong time

Call BAMA ‘UAT’—Join the witness protection program

University of AlabamaI wrote a piece doubting the longevity of UAB Football, a young Auburn student wrote a rebuttal, and all hell broke loose on the Internet.

I expected some push back—but it didn’t come from where I expected.

Sher hates UAB & Birmingham

In my defense, I am pro UAB and Birmingham, but some commenters didn’t think so.

“What a convoluted, illogical, irrelevant opinion by Sher. And this man is supposed to be singing the praises of The Comeback Town?…What a conceited jerk.” Continue reading Call BAMA ‘UAT’—Join the witness protection program

5 reasons David Sher Is Wrong About UAB Football

Michael Bullington, Auburn student,
Michael Bullington. Auburn student

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is Michael Bullington.  In this piece, Michael is responding to 5 reasons UAB will pull the plug on UAB football.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

1)  Eventually, the U of A Trustees will cave

There is continuous and  mounting public pressure for the University of Alabama System’s Board of Trustees to offer greater resources and attention to UAB.  UAB is not the commuter school that it once was. About 18,700 students are enrolled at UAB, more than half as many as UAT has. If UAB’s student population was a city, it would be the 34th largest city in Alabama. Also, while only 40% of students at UAT are from the state of Alabama, nearly 80% of UAB’s students are in-state. These are students whose families have paid taxes to support the system. Their voice matters. If football really matters to UAB students (and it should), then they will fight for their program. Regardless of football, they should fight for their school. UAB Football  may take a hit, but given time the Board will inevitably come to realize that greater athletic offerings can only help UAB, the System, and the State. #FreeUAB Continue reading 5 reasons David Sher Is Wrong About UAB Football

5 reasons why UAB will pull the plug on UAB football

UAB FootballThere’s been talk that UAB may discontinue its Division 1 football program.  UAB boosters are joining ranks to save it.

It’s heartbreaking because Bill Clark and UAB are showing new life, but I think it’s unavoidable.  There are just too many obstacles for UAB football to overcome.

Even though UAB is having a great turnaround season only 9,457 fans showed up at Legion Field this past week for UAB’s loss to Louisiana Tech. Continue reading 5 reasons why UAB will pull the plug on UAB football

Should our self-worth hinge on Alabama football?

Alabama upset by Ole Miss
Alabama upset by Ole Miss

I love Alabama football.

I attended the University in the early ‘60’s when Bear Bryant was winning football games just as Nick Saban is today.  By the way–even the Bear lost a game or two every once in a while.

My claim to fame is that while eating at the Little Cookie, a burger joint in Tuscaloosa, Joe Namath asked me to pass the salt.

And I take great pride in our University’s growth. Continue reading Should our self-worth hinge on Alabama football?

UAB the biggest and best hope for Birmingham

Mike Warren
Mike Warren, CEO Children’s of Alabama

ComebackTown is published by David Sher to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.

Today’s guest blogger is Mike Warren.  If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.

My name is Mike Warren.

I grew up in Auburn, attended schools there, and graduated from Auburn University.  I received my law degree from Duke and I’ve joyfully lived in Birmingham ever since.

My first Birmingham job was with a major law firm and then I joined one of its largest clients, Alabama Gas.  I eventually became Chairman and CEO of Energen, Alabama Gas’ parent company.

When I retired from Energen at the end of 2007, I became the CEO of Children’s of Alabama.

I tell you this to give you a sense of how long I’ve worked in our business community.   I’ve witnessed first-hand Birmingham’s wins and some of our biggest disappointments.  And though I love Birmingham, I join many others who feel Birmingham has never reached its full potential. Continue reading UAB the biggest and best hope for Birmingham

What would Birmingham look like without UAB–Anniston?

UAB To compare Birmingham with no UAB to Anniston is an unfair exaggeration and I apologize to the good citizens of Anniston.  I could have selected any mid-sized city, but I Googled “cities in Alabama” and Anniston came to the top alphabetically.

Visualize Birmingham without UAB.  Exit the Red Mountain Expressway at University Avenue (without UAB–it would be 8th Avenue South) and drive west.

What would we see in place of the 86 square blocks occupied by UAB? Continue reading What would Birmingham look like without UAB–Anniston?

Can Birmingham get over its low self-esteem?

David Sher

One hundred years from now, when historians write the history of Birmingham, 2013 will be the year they say changed everything.

Birmingham’s been called the “City of Perpetual Promise.”  We’ve been described as the “Magic City” at our zenith and as the “Most segregated city in America” at our low point.

We’ve always been a great place to live, but not a great city.  2013 will be the year Birmingham begins its long-hard journey to become that great city. Continue reading Can Birmingham get over its low self-esteem?