Monday, February 11, 2008
Charlotte 49ers men's basketball coach Bobby Lutz asked me to share this open letter to Charlotte fans regarding his comments made in Sunday's Observer following the 49ers' win over St. Bonaventure:
To our loyal 49er fans:
It is my understanding that some of the 49er faithful are concerned about my comments in an article in Sunday's paper written by David Scott. I am truly sorry if I offended any of the thousands of wonderful fans that we have at UNC Charlotte. I would like to explain that the comment was directed toward a very few fans who had been incredibly rude and harsh on Lee during the past week. I have no problem with fans questioning me as that is part of my business but I am very protective of our players. My point was that fans who attack players like Lee really don't understand what is going on and those attacks had occurred during the past week and during our home game by a season ticket holder who booed him throughout the game.
I respect the right of fans to question my decisions because that is the nature of my profession and certainly respect those who confront me directly rather than blindly on a message board or by anonymous emails from bogus return addresses. I love the passion of the 49er faithful and regret hurting any true supporter. Those of you who have contacted me in the past know that I respond to every communication I receive regarding our team and my coaching decisions.
After defeating St. Bonaventure I was asked about the previous two losses and was passionately defending Lee during the press conference that followed the game. He is everything that is right about college basketball and I know that the overwhelming majority of you understand how special he is. While this has been a difficult year in some ways the amazing support of Niner Nation has been constant and I will always be thankful. While most of us make mistakes from time to time, a public blunder is sometimes difficult to get past.
All I can ask is that our true fans try to understand that my objective was only to protect Lee (and to single out the few who had been critical of him despite all he has done for our team and program) and to ask our fans to take out any frustrations on me rather than our players. This group in particular (led by Lee) gives me and you everything they have every day whether it is practice, game, academics, or community service and I felt compelled to defend them (and him).
Again, I wish I could turn back the clock and respond more precisely but now simply ask for forgiveness from anyone who felt I was talking about Niner Nation as a whole. That was clearly not my intent. You should know that I will always fight for my players even in a down year as we experienced in 06-07. However, I will work hard to do so in a more positive and clear manner.
Go Niners! See you at Halton Arena on Wednesday for the Xavier game.
Posted by Observer Sports at 10:39 AM