July 1 will be an important day for the Charlotte 49ers as it will be their first back in Conference USA. So running until the 30th, we’re taking a look at all the C-USA teams going in alphabetical order-from ECU to UTSA. We’ll also profile the affiliate members (Kentucky, New Mexico and South Carolina-men’s soccer; Colorado College-women’s soccer).
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Location: Birmingham, AL–pop. 212,237
UAB, the lone C-USA school in the state of Alabama, is another charter member of C-USA and an old rival that Charlotte may remember from back in the Metro Conference days. The Blazers remained in C-USA while Charlotte went to the A-10, but now the two teams are conference mates once more.
Sport-by-sport year in review:
Football (3-9, 2-6)
Home Field: Legion Field
The 2012 season was a letdown for first year coach Garrick McGee, as he was charged with turning around a program that had its last bowl appearance in 2004. It’s eight non-winning seasons and counting for the Blazers, who have been over .500 only six out of 22 seasons.
Men’s Basketball (16-17, 7-9)
Home Court: Bartow Arena
After former Indiana coach Mike Davis was fired, the Blazers turned to Jerod Haase, a former assistant at Kansas and North Carolina under current Tar Heels coach Roy Williams. Year one of his tenure saw him lead them to a 7th place finish in C-USA and a second round loss to Southern Miss in the tournament.
Women’s Basketball (18-13, 9-7)
Home Court: Bartow Arena
It was a slight improvement for the Blazer women’s basketball team as they picked up a WNIT bid. They would go on to lose, 80-57, to Auburn in the first round.
Baseball (23-36, 7-17)
Home Field: Jerry D. Young Memorial Field
The baseball team wasn’t able to capitalize on a NCAA tournament season in 2012 and failed to repeat in 2013, but look to get back at it and fight once more for the conference crown in a stacked C-USA 2014.
Softball (40-19, 19-4)
Home Field: UAB Softball Field
Marla Townsend has built quite a strong program down in Birmingham. This past season, the Blazers advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals, where they were swept by Florida; this was despite losing in the semifinals of the C-USA tournament. They’ll be a challenge for the Niners and all comers in 2014.
Men’s Soccer (10-8-2, 4-4-4)
Home Field: West Campus Field
Niner fans should be quite familiar with the Blazers on the soccer pitch; in fact, it’s Charlotte that has knocked UAB out of the NCAA tournament in back-to-back seasons. Now, with the two teams as conference rivals, their matches will take on a whole new significance.
Volleyball (20-14, 11-5) was 10-1 at home, but their momentum ended at the C-USA tournament in a second round loss…Women’s soccer (2-17-0, 1-10-1) suffered through a dismal 2012, managing only 17 goals in 19 matches…Men’s golf put together a strong 4th place finish at the C-USA championships. They moved on to regionals, where they placed 9th…Men’s tennis fell to Memphis in the C-USA opening round, while the women fell victim to ODU, also in the first round…In track and field, the women’s 4×100 relay advanced past the NCAA East Regionals to the national championships, along with two other athletes. There, Rhiannon Johns took 12th in the 10,000m…Cross country earned a berth in regionals with a strong 4th place finish at the C-USA meet.