University of Alabama at Birmingham Mascot
Blaze is the mascot of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s athletics teams. He is a fire-breathing European dragon.
UAB’s athletic history goes back to 1977, when Gene Bartow was named the school’s first athletic director. In January 1978, a campuswide vote bestowed the nickname “Blazers” on the team, hoping that the teams would “blaze” a new trail in college athletics. Originally, there was no official mascot, but that changed in 1995, when a European dragon was chosen as the mascot.
On January 6, 1996, “Blaze” was introduced at a basketball game. “Blaze” is considered a member of the spirit squads, and appears at all football and basketball games. Blaze’s head has appeared on the sides of UAB’s football helmets since 1996, when the team moved up to Division I-A.
Conference USA (C-USA or CUSA) is a collegiate athletic conference whose member institutions are located within the Southern United States. The conference participates in the NCAA’s Division I in all sports. C-USA’s offices are located in the Las Colinas business district of the Dallas suburb of Irving, Texas.
C-USA was founded in 1995 by the merger of the Metro Conference and Great Midwest Conference, two Division I conferences that did not sponsor football. To even out at 12 members (because Dayton, VCU, and Virginia Tech were left out of the merger) the conference invited the University of Houston, but UH could not start C-USA play for a year due to committing to being in the Southwest Conference in its final year. The conference immediately started competition in all sports except for football, which did not launch until 1996.