BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — This season, the UAB Blazers football team will pay tribute to its first coach through a commemorative sticker each player will wear on their helmets.

Jim Hilyer was a key figure in starting the program during its club years in 1989-90 and led the Blazers through their first years of NCAA football from 1991 to 1994. Hilyer coached the Blazers to an overall record of 28-12-1, the highest winning percentage in school history.

A member of UAB Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2020, Hilyer died in January. He was 86 years old.

In addition to a moment of silence for Coach Hilyer during the home opener against Alabama A&M Sept. 1, all former UAB football players have been invited to lead the 2022 UAB football team through Blazer Walk. All football alumni wishing to participate in the Blazer Walk should meet at Eugene’s Hot Chicken by 4:30 p.m.

Two of Coach Hilyer’s players, Pat Green and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, will also serve as honorary captains for the game.