Message from the Athletic Director

	Brian Mackin
Brian Mackin

Dear Blazer Family -

One of the ongoing projects I am especially excited about is the development of our department's strategic plan.

As a department, our staff has been working diligently on this initiative and once completed, I will present the plan to Dr. Watts. As we continue to work toward completing the strategic plan, we have been outlining our priorities as an athletic program.

We are looking at potential facility additions and improvements, personnel and staffing as well as our operating budget. We are conducting a peer analysis to compare our program to fellow Conference USA schools, and selected other institutions.

CarrSports Consulting has been assisting us in the project, compiling extensive data and evaluating our department, especially as it compares with our peer athletic programs, in order to put together the most comprehensive information possible.

Basketball Teams Made Progress
With the basketball seasons now completed for our men's and women's teams, I think we can reflect on the successes for both squads during the past few months. I saw progress made for both Coach Haase's team and that of Coach Norton. Our men's team won 18 games in Coach Haase's second season, the most wins for our program since the 2010-11 season, and defeated three NCAA Tournament teams.

Coach Norton and his staff also led their team to a winning season in their first year in Birmingham. The transition that student-athletes experience with a new coach can be difficult, but I thought Coach Norton and his staff did a great job in getting their players to buy in to what they were trying to instill in the program.

Away from the court, both of our head coaches put a high priority on success academically and making a difference in the student-athletes' life skills.

I think the future is bright for both programs.

Baseball, Softball, Spring Sports Playing Well
Coach Brian Shoop's baseball team is off to a great start overall and within our conference, taking each of its two Conference USA series to open the season. It's been a huge plus for our program to play at Regions Field this season and we are extremely appreciative to the Barons for opening their wonderful facility to us and their willingness to turn the ballpark into a home field for the Green and Gold.

The softball team played one of the toughest schedules in the country in the early part of the season, and now that Coach Townsend and her team have entered into conference play, you can see how that difficult schedule is paying dividends. This week's national RPI has the Blazers at No. 32. After the series win over FIU last weekend, the Blazers have won nine of their last 11 games as they play for their fifth straight NCAA Tournament berth.

Our men's golf team has been ranked in the top 15 all season under first-year head coach Alan Murray and we're excited about the potential of that team this spring. And I also want to congratulate Elinor Kirk, our outstanding distance runner on our track and field team. After winning the high point honors at the C-USA indoor meet, she earned first-team All-America honors with a third place finish in the 3,000-meter run at the NCAA Indoor Championships. Eli has put together a long list of accomplishments since she arrived at UAB and began running for head coach Kurt Thomas and distance coach Tony Houchin.

We look forward to a successful spring for all of our sports and I hope to see you at a Blazer event soon!

Go Blazers!

Brian Mackin
Director of Athletics

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