When Jeremiah Haswell joined the celebration after a big Blazer basketball win in 2002, he had no idea his impassioned visage (below, left) would be used to fire up future generations of UAB students.
Jeremiah Haswell is larger than life. He has appeared on T-shirts, billboards, newspaper ads, and stadium scoreboards. With a six-inch green wig, Blazer logos on his cheeks, and a mouth frozen mid-shout, Haswell’s green-tinted visage has been the face of UAB athletics for years. Yet even though the two-time alumnus is a regular at Blazer sports events, few of his fellow fans recognize the icon in their midst—even if they’re wearing his face on their shirts.
Haswell’s spirit-filled image, as captured in a nine-year-old photograph, is the logo of Gang Green, the UAB student organization formed to support Blazer athletics. Haswell was a founding member of the group in 2001 and served as its third president in 2003, in between earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from the university. Yet his most lasting contribution came, unbeknownst to him, when he was just another face in a packed Bartow Arena.
“We got dressed up and went all out for some of the bigger games,” against teams like Cincinnati, Louisville, and Memphis, says Haswell. He was at mid-court on February 22, 2002—covered in body paint and waving a huge UAB flag while celebrating UAB’s 64-46 win over Memphis—when a photographer captured the famous shot of him celebrating the victory.
Haswell, who says he was never a basketball fan prior to enrolling at UAB, began attending games as a freshman and was immediately hooked. When the athletic department began promoting the idea of a student support organization, Haswell was among the first to join the effort. “We started out as just a small group of students,” Haswell says. “I thought Gang Green was a great way to create some excitement and get more people involved.”
Haswell’s athletic interests weren’t relegated to life on the sidelines, however. The summer after his sophomore year, he rode a bicycle across the country for the Journey of Hope, a national charity dedicated to serving people with disabilities. Somewhere in the middle of the 64-day, 4,100-mile trek, he got a call asking for permission to use his image to help publicize Gang Green. “My roommate said they had a photo of me from a basketball game that they wanted to use,” Haswell says. “I didn’t know what photo he was talking about, but I said OK. Then when I got back to school that fall, there was a full-page ad in the student newspaper with my face on it.”
Still One of the Gang
Even without all the attention the Gang Green ad generated, Haswell’s presence at UAB was never exactly inconspicuous. He was a freshman orientation leader, a UAB Ambassador, a Student Government Association representative, a member of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, and vice-president of UAB Engineers Without Borders. He received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2003 and added a master’s in civil engineering in 2008. He currently works as a team leader for Alabama Power Company and is married to fellow two-time UAB alumnus Lindsay Greer Haswell (B.A., Early Childhood and Elementary Education, 2004; M.A., Early Childhood and Elementary Education, 2007).
Gang Green, UAB's student-led spirit group, was formed in 2001 to organize the most vocal Blazer sports fanatics. Members have reserved seating at football and basketball games, where they coordinate and lead cheers to help create an exciting game-day atmosphere.
See Gang Green in action at the men's basketball season finale against ECU on Saturday, March 5 at 7 p.m.
Haswell is still a regular visitor to the UAB campus, too. He often works with students and faculty at the School of Engineering in his position as president of the Birmingham Professional Engineers Without Borders chapter. He remains an avid supporter of Blazer athletics as well. He is a football and basketball season-ticket holder, and he spoke with UAB Magazine soon after returning from Durham, North Carolina, where he went to watch the men’s basketball team take on top-ranked Duke University.
On most nights, Haswell is just a face in the crowd, but he still enjoys occasional reminders of his status as a local celebrity. “We’ll be walking into a game, and one of my friends will stop a student and say, ‘This is the guy whose face is on your shirt.’ That usually gets a lot of stares while people look at me to see if we’re kidding them,” Haswell says.
“Last year I was at a basketball game, and they put me up on the video screen at Bartow Arena with a caption that said ‘the original face of Gang Green,’ and everyone cheered,” Haswell recalls. “I like to think I have accomplished other notable things, but athletics became a big part of my life when I was a student, so I’m proud that people still associate me with Blazer sports.”