With the completion of both the men's and women's basketball teams' seasons, Charlotte 49ers athletics director Judy Rose said she is turning her attention this week to getting the men's team back on track.
After finishing 14-16 in 2006-07, the 49ers finished 20-14 in 2007-08 with eight new players and lost in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament. With all but one starter returning this season, there were big expectations but they never materialized. One of the team's two point guards quit the team; talented freshman shooting guard Shamarr Bowden suffered a season-ending injury before the season started; and Charlotte lost forward Charles Dewhurst to a season-ending injury in January.
Charlotte finished the year 11-20 and 5-11 in the Atlantic 10 Conference and lost in the first round of the conference tournament. The 49ers did manage a home victory over nationally ranked Xaiver, which is still playing in the NCAA Tournament.
"Am I pleased with this past season? Heavens no. How could I be when you're 11-20? Were there some adversities that were faced? Were there some injuries? Absolutely," Rose said. "But every team has some adversity every year and we should be able to overcome those.
"It's no secret that I think we should finish in the top level of the Atlantic 10 every year. We came into the Atlantic 10 primarily for basketball, especially with the success we had in Conference USA. It's never lived up to that billing to be honest about it. A lot of our fans blame it on the Atlantic 10. I don't blame it on the Atlantic 10. Lots of teams are successful in the Atlantic 10 and getting the caliber of athletes they need. So, we have to step up and be competitive in this league."
Rose said there should be no doubt as to the program's overriding goal.
"Our goal is not to be in the NIT. Our goal is to get back to NCAA play. Granted, we'll take the NIT over nothing. We are working hard to get our arms around the issues that are keeping us from being successful and get back on that path which our fans expect."