NASSAU, Bahamas — Now in year four of the Bahamas Bowl, the week of events has generated a positive reputation for incoming teams Ohio and UAB, which both arrived at the Atlantis Paradise Island resort on Monday afternoon.
“I’ve been lucky enough to be here before and know exactly how well they’re going to treat us,” UAB head coach Bill Clark said. “My players on the other hand had not, so there was a lot of hollering and hooping. They’re just really excited. There was a lot of work went into bringing this thing back, for those guys and these coaches to get rewarded in this way, it really couldn’t get much better.”
Ohio head coach Frank Solich, leading Ohio into its 11th bowl game, agrees.
“Our players, our staff, our families have really looked forward to getting on the plane and getting down here,” he said. “It was an enjoyable trip. I’ve been down here a couple times previously. The people are great – it’s a very hospitable place. I think the bowl itself has grown. I think [Bahamas Bowl staff] Richard [Giannini] and Lea [Miller Tooley] are doing a great job, and all those people who are involved in putting the bowl on are super and doing a great job. We expect to have a good time and play some good football at the end of it.”
Returning from a two-year hiatus, and playing in a bowl for the first time since 2004, the Blazers were especially excited to venture to Nassau.
“It was like a victory. It was an achievement,” UAB safety Jordan Petty said. “We had our eyes set on something big and we knew we could accomplish a goal the first year back. To come to the Bahamas to end it, it’s really sweet.”
There is a balance of fun and work in the Bahamas, and that is key for bowl week, according to Clark.
“I think that’s one of the things we’ve talked a lot about, as I’m sure they [Ohio} have,” said Clark. We want to get up, have a normal routine in the morning, practice in the morning, get through about lunch, then we’ll give them some downtime, have a couple events at night. We want them to enjoy it. This is historic for them. They are still young guys, we want them to have a good time, but at the same time, know we have a ball game on Friday.”
While both programs are excited for a fun week ahead off the field, the primary focus remains on the game itself, set for Friday at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN.
“I think our coaches do a pretty good job of balancing things like that,” Ohio tight end Troy Mangen added. “We have our meetings and practices, but we still have a little bit of time to ourselves…We’ve got an older, experienced team. The ultimate goal here is to win a game – that’s really what we’re here for.”
Teams Celebrate Bahamas Bowl with Welcome Party
What better to kick off a bowl week celebration than with a Bahamas Bowl Welcome Party in the lobby of the Atlantis Resort in Nassau, Bahamas. Both Ohio University and UAB experienced the yearly tradition Monday night as they enjoy a little fun before bowl preparation gets underway Tuesday afternoon.
With a tank full of sharks and many other fish native to the islands, members of the Blazers and Bobcats celebrated their arrivals with some food and pageantry. If you didn’t know these two teams would meet on the gridiron Friday afternoon, you would think this was a large gathering among friends.
As they say, “Food is the ingredient that binds us together” and guests of the hotel passing overhead witnessed this first hand.
Starting Tuesday morning, the two squads will shed their travel gear for practice wear as business resumes for the right to be called Bahamas Bowl Champions this Friday at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium.