University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) senior Taylor Klein left his mother and Lexington, Ky., home in 2008 at the age of 17 to be close to his father and brother in Birmingham. Within two years, his dad was diagnosed with colon cancer; and four months later was gone.
In spite of that loss, Klein stayed in Birmingham and will receive his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the UAB Collat School of Business on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. In four years at UAB, Klein found more than an education. He found new family that pushed him through a tough time and toward a bright future.
He does not regret his decision to uproot.
“I was distraught when my dad died, but coming to UAB was exactly what I should’ve done,” Klein said.
Klein, who recently received All-Conference USA honorable mention honors, walked-on to the UAB football team as a long snapper without any formal training. The quick learner made his first start as a redshirt freshman and never gave up the position. He ended his football career tied with former teammate Jake Seitz for the most consecutive starts in UAB history with 48.
Klein was just as dominant in his academic career at UAB. His 3.57 GPA placed him on the 2012 Conference USA All-Academic team. He was named Student Athlete of the Week for Conference USA in October. Klein is a member of, and social chairman for, the UAB chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, an honor society for accounting and finance majors, as well as a participant in the Collat School of Business Honors Program.
Klein’s day during football season
7 a.m. - wake up
7:30 a.m. - breakfast
8:15 a.m. - weight training
9:30 a.m. - classes
Noon - lunch
1:30 p.m. - special teams meetings
2 p.m. - position meetings
3-4:15 p.m. - practice
*4:30 p.m. - class
*8-11 p.m. - work at UAB Rec Center
Stephen A. Yoder, J.D., an assistant professor and Honors Program director in the Collat School of Business, taught Klein in five courses; most recently in Business Law for Accountants.
“In Taylor’s business law class, I assess students on their ability to apply a myriad of possible rules to specific fact situations and to provide a quick answer,” Yoder said. “In the final exam, Taylor earned a perfect score. In addition to his fine technical skills, I predict that Taylor will be an excellent team player – a skill he learned in no small part from his years on football teams.”
The consummate team player, Klein gives his instructors credit for his success.
“The professors at the Collat School of Business actually invest in their students, which makes it easier to do well and be engaged in the class,” said Klein. “You know they are interested in how you are doing.”
Klein did not just find support from his UAB football and academic family.
In 2008, he met Nicole Peters, then a midfielder for the UAB women’s soccer team, at the UAB Campus Diner. He says she has been his biggest fan throughout the past three seasons. Peters and her family, who hail from Grayson, Ga., and have attended most every UAB football game to watch Klein, have helped him stay strong since the loss of his father.
The two will be married on June 22, 2013, in Atlanta.
With a bright future ahead, Klein prefers to look forward, not back. He has a job lined up after graduation with one of the Big Four accounting firms. Once he earns his Certified Public Accountant (CPA) title he will be an external auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Birmingham. He is also on the Fast-Track Masters in Accounting Program. He has already passed four of the 10 graduate classes required to earn a master’s in accounting, which he will attain in 2013.