Dear Blazer Family -
The start of the new year for Blazer Athletics will be here before you know it, but before we look ahead too much, I want to offer congratulations to our teams that recently wrapped up their spring seasons.
The success of our spring sports almost seemed contagious, and it was a lot of fun to see our student-athletes and coaches achieve so many successes and garner so many awards the last couple months.
I'm not sure where to start, so we'll begin with track and field which was our last team to complete their season. Led by our outstanding distance runner Eli Kirk, our team finished 22nd at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Eli was the runner-up in the 10,000, coming ever so close to winning a national championship, and was also an All-American in the 5k. Our fantastic pole vaulter Neal Tisher also deserves accolades. As a first-year medical student, she found a way to balance her time between her studies and winning a conference championship, as well as qualifying for the NCAAs. Amazing!
We've gotten used to seeing our softball team perform at a high level and this season was no exception. Coach Townsend's team earned its way to a fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament berth and they did it the hard way, playing the second-toughest non-conference schedule in the country and the No. 10 schedule overall.
I'm really proud of our baseball team. They had quite a spring and no doubt, enjoyed the experience of playing many of our home games at nearby Regions Field. Among the accomplishments: most wins (35) in more than 20 years and the most league wins in history for a UAB team. The achievements were noticed. Congratulations to Coach Brian Shoop who was named the C-USA Coach of the Year and Coach Josh Hopper, voted the Assistant Coach of the Year in the conference.
And what about Chase Mallard who led a great performance this season by our pitching staff. Chase was the conference Pitcher of the Year, was first-team All-C-USA and was named a second-team All-American. Oh, and he was also drafted in the 14th round by the Toronto Blue Jays. Best of luck to Chase as he begins his professional career.
I'm not sure what else to add to what our men's golf team has done. Coach Alan Murray, in his first season leading our team, was named the National Coach of the Year as the team finished 21st at the NCAA Championships. Paul Dunne was selected as the C-USA Golfer of the Year and placed in the top 20 at the NCAAs.
The team's success didn't stop with the end of the collegiate season. We now have nine former men's golfers playing professionally on various tours. Sam Love qualified for and played in the recent U.S. Open, and Paul will be playing in the upcoming British Open - both tremendous accomplishments!
Those are all great memories from the spring. We're looking forward to continued success as we get ready to begin our fall seasons in August.
Director of Athletics