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The UAB Blazers are the forest green and old gold-swathed athletic teams at UAB. The school is one of the twelve member institutions of Conference USA and participates in Division I of the NCAA. The UAB football team, which competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision, is led by Neil Callaway and plays its home games at 71,594-seat Legion Field. The school's men's basketball team, coached by Mike Davis, plays in 8,508-seat Bartow Arena.
The basketball program's first coach was Gene Bartow, who was John Wooden's successor at UCLA. Bartow left UCLA after several exceptional seasons (52–9 over three seasons, including a berth in the Final Four in 1976) to head up the founding of the first UAB men's basketball team. He served as the school's first head basketball coach and athletic director for 18 years.
Bartow led UAB to the NIT in the program's second year of existence, and followed that with seven straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including trips to the Sweet 16 in 1981 and the Elite Eight in 1982. Bartow retired from coaching in 1996, and in 1997, UAB renamed its basketball venue from UAB Arena to Bartow Arena in his honor. Bartow continues to support the university as an influential booster and currently lives in Memphis, Tennessee where he serves on the staff of the Memphis Grizzlies as a Special Advisor.
In 30 years UAB has made 13 NCAA appearances, 3 Sweet Sixteen appearances, 1 Elite Eight appearance, has had 27 winning seasons, of which 19 of those were 20+ wins seasons.
In addition to football and basketball, UAB also has programs in men's sports for baseball, golf, soccer, and tennis. Women's sports programs include softball, basketball, golf, soccer, tennis, track and field (indoor and outdoor), cross country, rifle, volleyball, sand volleyball and bowling.