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The Birmingham Fire was a professional American football team based in Birmingham, Alabama that played in the World League of American Football in 1991 and 1992. The team played at Legion Field, and it made the playoffs in both seasons.

Team Overview

 Team:  Birmingham Fire 
 League Affiliation: World League of American Football 
 Years of Operation: 1991-1992 
 Stadium: Legion Field 
 Owners: Gavin Maloof (majority 1991-1992); Phillip Maloof (minority 1991); Dr. Larry Lemak, Richard Scrushy, Thom Gossom, Jr., Edgar Weldon (minority 1991-1992); Steve Trimmier (1992) 
 Head Coach: Chan Gailey 
  Notable Achievements: Made the playoffs in 1984 and 1985; won nine games in a row in 1984. 
 Yearly Record: 
1991     5-6     Lost in first round of playoffs. 
1992 7-3-1 Lost in first round of playoffs. 


Gavin Maloof

Gavin Maloof was the primary owner of the Fire. He had previously owned the Houston Rockets of the NBA. He hired long time NFL assisant Chan Gailey as head coach. The Fire also had one of the first African-American general managers in pro football, Michael Huyghue.

Life after the WLAF

Chan Gailey became the head coach at Samford University. When he left to re-enter the NFL, he was replaced by Fire offensive line coach Pete Hurt. Gailey went on to become the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys and at Georgia Tech and as of 2010, the head coach of the Buffalo Bills.

Gavin Maloof would join his brother in becoming owners of the NBA's Sacramento Kings.

In 1995, the Fire nickname was resurrected in Düsseldorf, Germany as the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe.

Michael Huyghue worked in the front office of the Detroit Lions and the Jacksonville Jaguars. In 2007, he started working with the proposed United Football League which started in 2009 where he is the league Commissioner.


Michael Huyghue


  • Birmingham only had 3 players from the state of Alabama on the team. Kicker Wyn Lyle from Auburn, on the 1991 team. Auburn's Craig Ogletree and Alabama's Phillip Doyle on the 92 team.
  • The Fire went through four General Managers in its two year history.
  • Wayne Rogers, who acted in the hit television series MASH, was rumored as a potential owner.

The Coach

Coach Chan Gailey

Thomas Chandler Gailey, Jr. (born January 5, 1952, in Gainesville, Georgia) is an American football coach who last served as offensive coordinator for the National Football League's Kansas City Chiefs. He was formerly head coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team and the Dallas Cowboys.

Gailey had previously served as offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins in 2000–01 when the Dolphins posted consecutive 11–5 records. He was on the Pittsburgh Steelers staff from 1994-97 when the Steelers won four straight AFC Central titles and played in one Super Bowl (XXX). He was offensive coordinator in 1997 when Pittsburgh ranked sixth in the NFL in total offense and seventh in scoring. Gailey served as the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008 and three games of the 2009 pre-season before he was relieved of duties by Chiefs head coach Todd Haley.

High school years

Gailey attended Americus High School in Americus, Georgia and was a student, an Eagle Scout, and a letterman in football, basketball, baseball, and golf. In football, he was an All-State selection as a quarterback. Gailey graduated in 1970.

College years

Gailey attended the University of Florida, and was a student and a three-year letterman for the Gators as a quarterback. In 1974, Chan Gailey graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Physical Education.

Coaching career

Troy State, Air Force, Troy

Gailey stayed with Florida as a graduate assistant for two years before taking his first actual coaching job as the secondary coach for Troy State University in Alabama. After two seasons there, he spent four seasons with the Air Force Academy, including two as defensive coordinator under head coach Ken Hatfield. In 1983, he took over the head coaching duties at Troy, where he led the Trojans to a 12-1 record in 1984 en route to the Division II championship.

Professional Leagues (1984-1992, 1994-2001)

Gailey moved to the National Football League the next year, when the Denver Broncos signed him as a defensive assistant and special teams coach. The team made three Super Bowl appearances during his six-year tenure. In 1991, Gailey left the NFL to become the head coach of the Birmingham Fire of the World League of American Football, where the team made the playoffs in both years that he was coach.

After a one-year stint as head coach at Samford University, he returned to the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers. After starting off as coach for the wide receivers, then moved up to offensive coordinator for the 1996 and 1997 NFL seasons. The Steelers won their division all four years, and made one Super Bowl appearance.

In 1998, Gailey was hired to take over a struggling Dallas Cowboys squad, one that had faltered under Barry Switzer during his last year. Gailey's Cowboys won the NFC East in 1998, and made the playoffs under his two years at the reins, although they failed to win a playoff game. Gailey is the only Cowboys coach to make the playoffs every season with his team.

Gailey returned to the offensive coordinator role, this time with the Miami Dolphins for the 2000 and 2001 seasons.

Georgia Tech

Gailey was hired by the Yellow Jackets in 2002 to replace George O'Leary who left to become Head Coach at the University of Notre Dame, and was fired in 2007. In his first five years at Georgia Tech, he had compiled a 37-27 record. Georgia Tech went to bowl games each year under Gailey, and won two: the 2003 Humanitarian Bowl (a 52-10 win over the University of Tulsa), and the 2004 Champs Sports Bowl (a 51-14 victory over Syracuse University). Gailey compiled six winning seasons in six years at the helm. However, he never defeated Tech's biggest rival, the University of Georgia, never won the ACC, never went to a BCS bowl, never won more than 9 games, and never finished in the top 25. The 2006 season was his most successful at Georgia Tech winning the ACC Coastal Division, but losing his last 3 games to rival UGA, Wake Forest in the ACC championship game and West Virginia in the Gator Bowl.

Gailey's name was mentioned for both the Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins head coaching jobs following the 2006 season, two teams for which he was offensive coordinator. Gailey got neither job. On January 19, 2007 Gailey announced he would return to Georgia Tech.

After a 7-5 2007 regular season and losing for the sixth straight year to the Georgia Bulldogs football team, it was announced on November 26, 2007 that Gailey had been dismissed and his $1 million/year contract bought out.

Professional Leagues (2008-present)

Gailey was hired on January 16, 2008 to become the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs. Gailey inherited a Chiefs offense that ranked at the bottom of the league in almost every category the previous season. He was demoted after three pre-season games in 2009 and relieved of playcalling duties by head coach Todd Haley. For the 2010-2011 Season, the Buffalo Bills announced the Chan Gailey would be their new head coach. 

Troy Trojans (Gulf South Conference (NCAA Division II)) (1983–1984)
Samford University Bulldogs (NCAA Division I-AA Independent) (1993–1993)
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Atlantic Coast Conference) (2002–2007)
2002Georgia Tech7-64-45 (tied)L Silicon Valley Classic
2003Georgia Tech7-64-44 (tied)W Humanitarian Bowl
2004Georgia Tech7-54-46 (tied)W Champs Sports Bowl
2005Georgia Tech7-55-33 (Coastal)L Emerald Bowl
2006Georgia Tech9-57-11 (Coastal)L Gator Bowl
2007Georgia Tech7-64-43 (Coastal)L Humanitarian Bowl
Georgia Tech:44-3228-20
      National Championship         Conference Title         Conference Division Title
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.

The Uniform

The Birmingham Fire uniform colors where dark blue, white and red with golden yellow accents. The jersey and pants were made by Wilson like the rest of the league.  The home jersey was the same for both 1991 and 1992 being dark blue in color.  The sleeves had red flames coming from the edges with golden yellow trim.  The numbers were white with red outlines.  The away jerseys differed from 1991 to 1992.  In 1991, the away jersey was white with red numbers. The numbers had dark blue outlines on them.  The sleeves still had the same flame design to them. The away jersey in 1992 was the same as the 1991 except for the numbers.  These numbers where dark blue with a red outline. 

The helmet was made by Riddell like the rest of the league.  It was blue with red and golden yellow flames comng from the front of the helmet near the Riddell logo.  The design was the same for both years except in 1992 when the league added a WLAF sticker to the back left that was silver with two upward arrow head lines under the WLAF logo. 

The pants were white with a wide dark blue stripe down the side. Inside this stripe was a red strip with a golden yellow strip on either side.  The Wilson logo patch was on the left hip.

The socks were white with a dark blue (or was it black?) top. 

1991 Fire Home Jersey
Home Jersey (back)
1991 Fire Helmet
1991 Fire Away Jersey
Away Jersey (back)
1991 - 1992 Fire Pants
1992 Fire Away Jersey
Away Jersey (back)
Birmingham Fire Socks
1992 Fire Helmet (back with WLAF sticker)

The Stadium

Legion Field

Legion Field is a large stadium in Birmingham, Alabama primarily designed to be used as a venue for American football, but is occasionally used for other large outdoor events. The stadium is named in honor of the American Legion, a U.S. organization of military veterans. At its peak it seated 83,091 people for football. Today, after the removal of the upper deck, Legion Field seats approximately 71,594 spectators.

Legion Field currently serves as the home field of the UAB Blazers, who compete in Conference USA.

Location400 Graymont Ave W, Birmingham, AL 35204
Coordinates33°30′41″N 86°50′34″W / 33.51139°N 86.84278°W / 33.51139; -86.84278Coordinates: 33°30′41″N 86°50′34″W / 33.51139°N 86.84278°W / 33.51139; -86.84278
OwnerCity of Birmingham
SurfaceField Turf
Construction cost$439,000 USD
UAB Blazers (NCAA) (1991–present)
Papajohns.com Bowl (NCAA) (2006–present)
Birmingham Americans (WFL) (1974)
Birmingham Vulcans (WFL) (1975)
Alabama Vulcans (AFA) (1979)
Birmingham Stallions (USFL) (1983–1985)
Birmingham Fire (WLAF) (1991–1992)
Birmingham Barracudas (CFL) (1995)
Birmingham Thunderbolts (XFL) (2001)
Dixie Bowl (NCAA) (1948–1949)
Hall of Fame Classic (1977-85)
All-American Bowl(1986-90)

1991 Fire Results, Stats, Roster
1992 Fire Results, Stats, Roster

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