The first and only coach in program history, Paul Harbin has led the Blazers' women's soccer program during all 14 years of its existence.
Under Harbin's direction, the UAB program has elevated itself to the top of Conference USA, including three league titles in the past six seasons. The 2003 C-USA Coach of the Year led the Blazers to their first conference championship in `03 by posting an overall record of 16-6-1, including an 8-2 mark in conference play to win the league's regular-season crown. UAB's overall mark of 16-6-1 set a new school record for victories in a single season.
Harbin and the Blazers followed that with a second-straight championship in 2004, as UAB won the 2004 Marriott C-USA Tournament to earn its first NCAA Tournament berth in school history. The '04 tournament championship was followed up with a third conference title in four years, as the Blazers won the 2006 C-USA tournament and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the second time in school history.
In 14 seasons of competition under Harbin, the Blazers have produced 59 all-conference selections, five NSCAA Academic All-Americans, seven CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, two Rhodes Scholar nominees and four C-USA Women's Soccer Scholar-Athletes of the Year. UAB has also been consistently ranked in the talent-laden NSCAA Southeast Region and is regularly among the region's attendance leaders.
The 2009 Blazers got off to their best start in history, opening the season with six straight wins en route to an 11-7-3 record (5-4-2 C-USA). The squad featured a pair of all-conference honorees in Tiffini Turpin and Marie Yempuku, in addition to CoSIDA Academic All-American Danielle Blair.
The 2008 edition of the Blazers went 7-11-2 overall and 5-4-2 in league play with a roster that featured just two seniors and nine newcomers. UAB was among league leaders in multiple categories and had several individuals among the best in C-USA as well.
In 2007, Harbin put UAB up against some of the toughest competition in the nation with its non-conference schedule including teams such as Vanderbilt, Gonzaga, Ole Miss, St. Mary's and Samford, just to name a few. The Blazers posted a non-conference record of 4-5-1 that included key wins over Vanderbilt and Ole Miss before jumping into the always-challenging Conference USA slate.
During conference play in '07, UAB tallied a 5-3-1 mark which earned it fourth place in the regular-season standings and the No. 4 seed in the C-USA tournament. The Blazers concluded the season with an overall record of 9-8-2 and had multiple individuals recognized for their talents, including four named to the all-conference teams.
The 2006 campaign saw the Blazers post an overall record of 8-12-1 while playing some of the nation's toughest competition. UAB finished seventh in regular-season league games with a mark of 4-5-0. The Blazers made the conference tournament and swept the competition by winning three consecutive games to claim the C-USA Tournament Championship and earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years.
In 2005, the Blazers had a new look with the arrival of seven freshmen to the squad. With just two seniors on the young team, UAB finished the season with an overall record of 8-10-1. The Blazers ended the year sixth in C-USA with a conference mark of 4-4-1. UAB made its eighth appearance in the C-USA tournament, falling to eventual tournament champion and NCAA tournament participant Rice in the first round, 1-0.
The 2004 season was critical for the Blazer program, as Harbin and his team were out to prove that the previous regular-season title was no fluke. UAB won eight straight games at one point during the season and went 12-1 down the stretch before eventually falling to Tennessee, 1-0, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to end its dream season. The Blazers recorded seven shutouts during the season, which was one shy of a school record, and outscored their 10 conference opponents in the regular season, 32-10.
UAB defeated Wake Forest, 2-0, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to earn its first NCAA tournament win in school history. Senior forward Tara Kidwell was named the 2004 C-USA Offensive Player of the Year, six players earned all-conference honors, and four Blazers made the all-tournament team at the 2004 Marriott C-USA Tournament.
In 2003, Harbin led UAB to one its most successful season in school history as the Blazers finished the campaign with an impressive 13-5-1 overall record and earned the 2003 C-USA regular-season championship. UAB, which was predicted to place eighth in the preseason C-USA standings, fought its way to a stellar 8-2 conference record and won its first C-USA title in school history.
In 2002, the Blazers posted a 9-9-1 overall mark and registered a 5-5 conference record. Although UAB barely missed qualifying for the C-USA Tournament, the team's young stars continued to shine and improved dramatically under Harbin's tutelage. Four UAB players were named Third-Team All-C-USA. Of the four honored, only one was a senior in forward Adrienne Suffridge.
Harbin guided UAB to an 11-9 overall record and a 7-3 C-USA mark during the 2001 season. Despite a young team comprised of 11 freshmen, the Blazers finished just one win shy of their school record of 12. The Blazers earned a number of accolades in 2001. They were recognized as the No. 3 Most Improved Team in Division I soccer by Soccer Buzz and also earned the NSCAA Academic Team award. UAB had three players earn all-conference honors, one was tabbed a freshman all-American, three others were named academic all-America and one was selected as the prestigious C-USA Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Despite a 3-14-2 overall record in 2000, the Blazers improved as the season progressed despite suffering a plethora of injuries to their starting lineup that allowed most of the younger players a chance to see some action.
In 1999, the Blazers posted a .500 mark or better for a consecutive season. UAB finished the campaign with a 10-10-1 overall record and ended with a stellar C-USA mark of 7-3-1.
In 1998, UAB recorded its second 12-win season and finished the year with an impressive 12-6-2 record. During the campaign, the Blazers also finished with a school-best six-match winning streak.
UAB made an amazing midseason turnaround in 1997; after starting the year with six straight losses, the Blazers were victorious in 10 of their final 14 matches and were one of the hottest teams in the conference when the season ended. UAB finished the campaign with an 8-10-2 overall record.
In 1996, Harbin led the Blazers to a 12-7-1 mark in their inaugural season, including 5-4 in C-USA play.
Prior to being named UAB's inaugurall women's soccer head coach in August of 1995, Harbin served as an assistant coach with the UAB men's soccer team for two seasons (1994, 95). In 1994, he helped guide the Blazers to a 15-4-1 overall record as the team won the Great Midwest Conference championship and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Before to his arrival at UAB, Harbin served as the head women's soccer coach at Mercer University located in Macon, Ga., from 1990-93. At Mercer, he compiled a 37-26-2 record in four seasons and helped his team earn consistent rankings in the prestigious South Region. In 1992, he was nominated for the NCAA Women's South Region Coach of the Year honor.
A native of Atlanta, Ga., Harbin earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Mercer in 1985 and received his master's in sports psychology from Columbia University in 1987. Harbin played soccer at Eckerd College in Florida in 1980 before transferring to Mercer where he played from 1981-83.
Harbin has been a member of the coaching staff for the Alabama Olympic Development program as well as the South Region staff. In 1996, he was a member of the Birmingham Soccer Organizing Committee (BSOC) and served as the Director of Training Sites for the Olympic games that were held in Birmingham. In the spring of 1998, Harbin was appointed to the staff of the South Region Women's Select Team for the U.S. Soccer Federation and served in that capacity for two years.
In the summer of 1995, Harbin established the rapidly growing girls only soccer camps at UAB, which he administers in the offseason.
Harbin and his wife, Mo, have three children: Jessica Cecil (10), Anna Blue (6) and Paul Andrew Jr. (2).