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MU coach must leave UAB slogan to Blazers

Thursday, May 25, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:59 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 2, 2008

First came “40 Minutes of Hell.” Then “The Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball.” Now it’s cease and desist.

New Missouri basketball coach Mike Anderson has promised to mold the Tigers in the trademark run-and-gun, full-court-press style he honed at Alabama-Birmingham and as an Arkansas assistant under Nolan Richardson.

What he and Missouri won’t be able to use is any reference to “The Fastest 40 Minutes in Basketball.” Alabama-Birmingham trademarked the term last year, and school officials have asked Missouri to find another catch phrase.

“UAB has invested significant resources in this trademark,” associate athletics director Sam Miller wrote to his Missouri counterpart on March 28, two days after Anderson’s hire. “Due to UAB’s ownership, (the university) requires the University of Missouri to cease all use.”

Missouri used the phrase in a news release announcing Anderson’s arrival as former coach Quin Snyder’s replacement, with many newspapers and broadcast outlets following suit.

But the school has no qualms about honoring Alabama-Birmingham’s request, said Frank Cuervo, Missouri’s assistant athletic director for external operations.

“When you spend a lot of time and money to build equity in a name and a brand, you want to make sure it’s not just being thrown around,” he said Wednesday.

When it comes to inadvertent trademark infringement, Missouri can relate.

After noticing shorthand references to Missouri State University as “Mizzou State” on ESPN’s bottom-of-the-screen television ticker, Cuervo had to send his own friendly reminder that Mizzou is a trademarked phrase owned by the University of Missouri.

“Mizzou refers to this program and this campus,” he said. “It’s not a moniker for the state as a whole.”

As for Alabama-Birmingham, the trademark for Anderson’s unique style may remain, but if the past performance of new coach Mike Davis is any indication, it will likely gather dust.

In his six seasons at Indiana, Davis’ teams never averaged more than 72 points per game, with a low of 63.8 points per game in 2004-05.


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