Thursday, July 31, 2008

Assoc. AD Spease to chair NCAA golf committee

Darin Spease, the senior associate athletic director for the Charlotte 49ers, has been named chair of the 2009 NCAA Division I Men's Golf Committee. Spease has served one year on the committee as a general member and has three years remaining on his appointment.

Spease, a 1989 Charlotte graduate, has worked with the 49ers' athletic department for 10 years. Among his current duties is overseeing the 49ers' nationally-ranked men's golf program.

"The committee is made up of a dedicated group of administrators and coaches that I will lean on in our mutual quest to make the NCAA Golf Championship the very best it can be," Spease said.

Last season, Spease served as chair of the Atlantic 10 Conference men's golf committee.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Showdown with Arizona State in 49ers' path?

ESPN has yet to release the bracket for the 2008 Anaheim Classic, but it appears the Charlotte 49ers will face a first-round matchup on Thanksgiving Day against Arizona State, coached by former N.C. State coach Herb Sendek.

The Sun Devils won 21 games last season - tying for the best turnaround in the country - and return their top seven scorers, including All-Pac-10 players James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph.

- The Charlotte 49ers' women's basketball team has not released its 2008-09 schedule, but early indications are the 49ers will have a home game this season against Notre Dame that is expected to be televised by ESPNU.

- A follow-up MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) showed Charlotte sophomore forward Gaby Ngoundjo suffered a partial tear of the plantar fascia in his left foot. He must wear a hard cast on the foot for about a month. The plantar fascia, or arch ligament, is a band that runs from under the heel to the front of the foot. Ngoundjo sustained the injury in a summer league game earlier this month.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

49er basketball exhibitions in Canada

The Charlotte 49ers' men's basketball team will get an early start to the season when it makes a four-day trip to Toronto in late August to play three Canadian teams.

Charlotte will depart on Aug. 29 and then play three teams in three days starting with the University of Toronto on Aug. 30, University of Guelph on Aug. 31 and Sheridan College on Sept. 1. The team will return to Charlotte following its game against Sheridan College.

All players available for the 2008-09 season are allowed to participate. However, newcomers will not receive as much practice time before the trip as returning players. Newcomers - including freshman Shamarr Bowden and junior transfer RaShad Coleman - will not be allowed to participate in practice until the first day of fall semester classes.

The 49ers faced Guelph in a preseason exhibition at Halton Arena in the 2006-07 season and won 100-71.

Charlotte finished 20-14 (9-7 Atlantic 10) last season after being a preseason pick to finish 11th in the 14-team league. The 49ers advanced to the semifinals of the A-10 conference tournament and lost in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament to Nebraska.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Niner wins national title

Charlotte 49ers softball player Sarah Malene, a three-time All-Atlantic 10 selection, recently helped the Virginia Legends win their third consecutive Under-23 ASA national tournament in Auburn, Ala. The Legends went 7-2 in the tournament, coming from the loser's bracket to win the championship.

"It was a great experience playing with and against a bunch of great college players," Malene said. "Playing in this tournament and winning the national title is something that I will remember for the rest of my life."

Malene started all nine games for the Legends at second base, where she plays for the 49ers. She had four hits, two doubles, three RBIs and scored four runs during the tournament.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

49er Club sets donations record

Annual donations to the Charlotte 49ers Athletic Foundation surpassed $1 million for the fourth consecutive year, executive director Mike Hummer has reported. The 49er Club raised a record $1.2 million in 2007-08 school year, surpassing last year's total of $1.138 million.

Donations come through four main fundraisers:The Annual Giving Campaign, the Great Gold Rush Auction, the 49er Club Golf Outing and the "Let Me Play" luncheon.

"We have an outstanding core of 49er Club members who help us to grow year in and year out," Hummer said.

Charlotte won six Atlantic 10 championships during 2007-08 and had three teams - golf, women's soccer and baseball -- advance to NCAA Tournament competition. The 49ers also had three student-athletes named ESPN The Magazine Academic all-America and five named A-10 Scholar Athletes of the Year in their respective sports.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Goldwire plays with the Jazz

Recent Charlotte 49ers graduate Leemire Goldwire, who led the team in scoring last season, is playing in the annual Rocky Mountain Revue with the NBA's Utah Jazz this month.

The Revue, hosted by the Jazz, is one of the NBA's summer leagues and started in 1984. This season eight teams are participating - Utah, an NBA D-League Ambassadors team, San Antonio, New Jersey, Golden State, Dallas, Atlanta and the Iranian National Team.

Goldwire is one of eight guards on the team and all but one would be NBA rookies. So far, Utah is 0-3 in the Revue, which concludes on Friday.

Charlotte strength coach featured in Q&A

The Charlotte 49ers's strength and conditioning coach Preston Greene is generally the first person on staff new student athletes get to meet - and sometimes dread - when they arrive on campus.

Greene is a protege of Canadian strength training coach, Charles Poliquin, who has trained many world class athletes including Olympic Gold medal sprinter Donovan Bailey, the NFL's David Boston, and the NHL's Chris Pronger, among others.

An interview with Greene and his use of Poliquin's methods and his work in collegiate athletics is currently featured on Poliquin's Web site, The Q&A with Greene is located at

Poliquin, an Ottawa native, has trained Olympic medalists in 12 sports and holds a bachelor's degree in kinesiology and a master's in exercise physiology. Poliquin has written nine books and more than 600 articles and his work is published extensively in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Recruiting, injury updates

Some Charlotte 49ers basketball updates:
  • It appears the 49ers have lost out on two potential recruits in the past week. Former Tennessee player Duke Crews has decided to transfer to Bowie State, an NCAA Division II school where he will be eligible to play right away. Crews, a consensus top-10 player out of high school, had narrowed his Division I choices to Charlotte and Pittsburgh. He made an unofficial visit to the Charlotte campus last month. Also, 6-foot-3 swingman J.T. Terrell, the son of former 49ers plater James "Trigger" Terrell, committed to Wake Forest this week. The rising high school junior was also a target for the 49ers and had visited campus during a game last season. J.T. Terrell also had offers from Miami (Fla.) and Virginia. He averaged 25.7 points, five rebounds and three assists per game last season for Burlington Cummings.
  • Rising Charlotte sophomore forward Gaby Ngoundjo suffered a plantar fascia strain while playing pickup basketball last week and is wearing a protective boot on his injured foot. He is scheduled to have a magnetic resonance imaging test Wednesday to rule out further injury. The plantar fascia, or arch ligament, is a band that runs from under the heel to the front of the foot. Most such injuries heal after two to three weeks.

Friday, July 11, 2008

'Gold Rush Auction' surpasses goal

The Charlotte 49ers Athletic Foundation's "Great Gold Rush Auction" surpassed its goal for the third consecutive season. This year's auction raised $260,000 and included 625 attendees bidding on more than 1,500 items valued at over $400,000. The auction's goal was $250,000.

Proceeds from the auction go directly to the 49ers Athletic Scholarship fund. Marilyn Gallagher, a member of the Athletic Foundation’s Board of Directors, served as Auction Chair. The evening was hosted by former President and CEO of Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company Dale Halton and Mark Colone, Vice President of the Signature Sports Group which serves as the 49ers’ external marketing arm.

Several unique items were sold including a round of golf with university Chancellor Phil Dubois at Quail Hollow Club, “Coach for a Day” items with 49ers head men’s basketball coach Bobby Lutz and head women’s basketball coach Karen Aston, and a gourmet dinner for eight prepared by a chef from Johnson & Wales.

Also available was a trip to ESPN’s Anaheim Classic, in which the 49ers will compete in November, and trips to Telluride, Maui, Hilton Head and Grandfather Mountain. Next year’s auction is scheduled for June 6, 2009, at Halton Arena.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Coleman makes impression fast on court

The Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball team is getting faster by the season.
When I first saw new point guard DiJuan Harris playing last summer, I felt the 49ers were going to get a burst of speed and energy they haven’t seen in a while.
Now, I get to say that all over again.
RaShad Coleman, a 6-foot-6, 195-pound junior shooting guard who played for the Heat Basketball Academy last season in Martinsville, Va., and signed to play at Charlotte beginning this season, made his debut in the Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation summer league on Monday at the Grady Cole Center.
To say he was impressive could be an understatement. To say he was fast definitely is. Coleman finished with 12 points, which included two NBA-range 3-pointers and three dunks, including one two-handed slam from an alley-oop pass and a second one-handed driving drunk from the baseline.
At the end of the night, the public-address announcer went to find Coleman even though he was on the losing team and said, “Son, we need to know your name.”
I have a feeling Charlotte fans will be saying it a lot this season. Coleman said he expects to playing at shooting guard and is excited about the upcoming season.
“I’m just working hard waiting to play for Charlotte,” he said. “I feel good. I felt at home playing out there with some of my teammates. It felt good.”
Coleman, from LaGrange, Ga., spent 1 1/2 years at NAIA school Brewton-Parker in Mount Vernon, Ga., before joining the Heat Academy to develop his skills after he grew more than five inches from high school.
“I was surprised at how much I grew since high school. I’ve become a much more explosive player since high school,” Coleman said. “I love to run the court.”
The next chance to catch Coleman in action will be 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Grady Cole Center. Coleman plays on a team that features several 49ers, including freshman Shamarr Bowden, junior transfer Shamari Spears, sophomore An’Juan Wilderness and junior Phil Jones.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Soccer teams garner preseason honors

  • The Charlotte 49ers’ men’s and women’s soccer teams have received some preseason recognition by the Atlantic 10 Conference.
    The men’s team had two players named to the preseason A-10 teams. Senior forward Chris Salvaggione, a first-team pick last season, was named to the preseason first team. Incoming freshman defender Alexander Dietzhas been named to the preseason all-rookie team.
    Last season, Salvaggione led the A-10 in assists with nine. He finished the season tied for third in the league with a team-leading eight goals while topping the 49ers in game-winning goals with four. Dietz helped Fort Collins (Colo.) High capture the 2005 5A state championship.
    The 49ers will host High Point in an exhibition at Transamerica Field on Aug. 24. Charlotte will kick off the regular season at Davidson on Aug. 29 at 7:15 p.m.
  • Seven members of the two-time defending Atlantic 10 champion Charlotte women’s soccer team were voted to the preseason all-conference teams. Junior goalkeeper Lauren Brown, sophomore defender Whitney Bryant and midfielder Sam Huecker made the preseason All-A-10 team.
    Four members of Charlotte’s recruiting class were named to the preseason all-rookie team – forward Oni Bernard, midfielder Jonna Handra, midfielder Jenna McKeon and midfielder Macky Wingo.
    Brown, Bryant and Huecker played integral roles in helping the 49ers tie the school record with 16 wins en route to the A-10 regular-season and tournament titles and the third NCAA tournament berth in the program’s history.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

7 NCAA tourney teams highlight 49ers' schedule

The Charlotte 49ers’ 2008-09 men’s basketball schedule features seven games with NCAA tournament teams, including a home-and-away series with 2008 Atlantic 10 regular-season champion Xavier. In all, the 49ers will play 12 games against teams that qualified for the postseason, six of them at Halton Arena.

Charlotte will play nonconference home games against UNC Greensboro (Nov. 14), Old Dominion (Nov. 16), Clemson (Nov. 22), Winthrop (Dec. 13), Youngstown State (Dec. 21), Long Island (Dec. 30) and Tulsa (Jan. 10).

The 49ers will face nonconference foes Appalachian State, Southern Illinois, Davidson and Maryland on the road and will play in the Anaheim Classic over Thanksgiving weekend, which includes Wake Forest, Baylor, Cal-State Fullerton, St. Mary’s, Arizona State, Providence and UTEP.

Charlotte’s A-10 home games will be against Dayton, Fordham, George Washington, La Salle, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Richmond and Xavier. The A-10 road games are at Duquesne, George Washington, Richmond, St. Bonaventure, Saint Joseph’s, Saint Louis, Temple and Xavier.

- Jim Utter

Catching up with 49ers in the minors

Thanks to Ryan Rose of the Charlotte 49ers' Sports Information Media Relations staff for compiling the following information on former Charlotte baseball players and how they've fared in the minor leagues this summer:

- Former 49ers Spencer Steedley and Derek McDaid made the Midwest League All-Star Game, and former pitcher Adam Mills has been called up to Class AA Portland after leading the Class A Advanced Lancaster Jethawks pitching staff through the first half of the summer season. He reports to the Eastern League club on Friday.

-On Tuesday, McDaid received a midseason promotion from Fort Wayne to Lake Elsinore of the Advanced-A California League. McDaid was 3-2 with a 3.89 ERA and two saves in 33 relief appearances for the Wizards of the Midwest League.

-Four Charlotte players were drafted in the 2008 amateur draft and two have seen action. One, Shayne Moody, was assigned to the short-season Appalachian League's Danville Braves, and is among the league leaders in hits, doubles and on-base percentage.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Former Tennessee player visits 49ers

Duke Crews, who a played basketball the past two seasons with Tennessee and was a consensus top-10 player in high school, made a one-day unofficial visit with the Charlotte 49ers on Monday, the Observer has learned.

Crews' visit included a meeting with Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz and a visit with some of the players who remain on campus this summer.

Crews, a 6-foot-7, 230-pound sophomore forward from Hampton, Va., previously said he planned to transfer in the fall and the 49ers and Pittsburgh were his top two choices. Sources said Crews has added Southern Cal to the short list of schools he is considering.

Neither Charlotte nor Pitt has a scholarship available and Crews would have to pay his own way his first season, during which he would not be eligible to play anyway. USC, however, does have an available scholarship.

Crews and point guard Ramar Smith were dismissed from Tennessee on May 2 by coach Bruce Pearl citing violations of unspecified team rules.

A story in May by the Knoxville (Tenn.) News-Sentinel cited violations of the university's substance abuse and academic shortcomings as contributing to both players' departures, but the Observer last month was shown Crews' official release from Tennessee, which states Crews was in good standing academically and did not violate any university or NCAA substance abuse policies.

Since Crews would be a transfer, he has not set timetable to announce a decision. He could wait until the final day to enroll at a school for fall semester if he so chose.