Thursday, December 31, 2009

Less than 900 tickets left for Georgia Tech

As of Thursday morning, John George, Charlotte 49ers assistant athletic director for ticket operations, said there were less than 900 general public tickets remaining for the 49ers' home game Saturday against Georgia Tech.

Charlotte (10-2) is off top its best start since the 2004-05 season when the 49ers started the year 12-2. Game time is 7 p.m. and the game will broadcast on Fox SportsSouth.

For ticket information, call (704) 687-4949.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Updated 49ers stats, roster and schedule

Here are links to the 49ers' updated stats, roster and schedule following Tuesday night's win over Mercer:

Current men's basketball roster is here.

Updated men's basketball statistics can be found here.

Updated schedule can be found here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Observations from Tuesday's win over Mercer

-While Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz has maintained he could change his starting lineup at any time, he had preferred to keep it the same for eight straight games. On Tuesday night, he made a change, electing to go with forward An’Juan Wilderness – a starter last season – over Charles Dewhurst. Wilderness missed the first seven games of the year with a calf injury. He finished the game with nine points and five rebounds.

- This was not a good sign for the 49ers: Starting point guard DiJuan Harris picked up his third foul of the game with seven minutes, 51 seconds remaining in the first half. Given the importance Harris is to Charlotte’s transition game, his absence made for major adjustments.

- Charlotte’s outside shooting struggles continued Tuesday. The 49ers missed their first seven 3-pointers until Ian Andersen hit one from just right of the key with 4:38 left in the first half. Freshman 6-8 forward Gokhan Sirin, a long-range shooter, even saw some first-half minutes as Lutz search for a shooter to find his range.

- The 49ers held Mercer’s high-scoring guard James Florence in check in the first half, but guard E.J. Kusnyer did plenty of damage for the Bears, making 3-of-5 3-pointers. In the second half, Florence scored 16 while Kusnyer was virtually shut down (three points).

- New York Mets pitcher and Charlotte alum John Maine was on hand for Tuesday night's game.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Looking ahead: The Mercer Bears

The Charlotte 49ers men's basketball team returns to action Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. when it hosts the Mercer Bears. Charlotte (9-2) is looking for its 10th win of the season - the 49ers had 11 victories all of last season.

Here's a look at Mercer's roster.

Here's a look at Mercer's stats.

Here's a look at Mercer's schedule.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

How the Atlantic 10 has fared so far

As non-conference play is winding down, here's some stats provided by the Atlantic 10 league office regarding the conference's performance in men's basketball so far this season:

• Entering play on Dec. 28, the A-10 10 is the fourth-ranked conference in the RPI ( and its 102-53 (.658) overall record is on pace to be the fourth-highest winning percentage in non-league action in A-10 history.

• 36 of the league’s 102 victories have come on the road or on neutral courts.

• The A-10 is the top-rated conference in Strength of Schedule according to RealTime RPI.

• Nine of the conference’s 14 teams have registered at least one victory over a BCS school.

• George Washington edged East Carolina in overtime on Dec. 22, 84-80, to improve to 4-0 on the road and surpass its road win total (three) from all of last season. The last time the Colonials won their first four road games was 1947-48 (6-0).

• Temple has cracked the national rankings for the first time since the 2001-02 season as it comes in at No. 21 in the AP top 25 and 25th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll.

• Richmond’s 56-53 victory over #13/#13 Florida and Temple’s 71-65 win at previously unbeaten Seton Hall on Dec. 19 raised the league’s total to 15 victories over teams from BCS conferences and five wins over ranked opponents this season.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Updated 49ers stats, roster and schedule

Here are links to the 49ers' updated stats, roster and schedule following Wednesday's lopsided loss at Old Dominion:

Current men's basketball roster is here.

Updated men's basketball statistics can be found here.

Updated schedule can be found here.

Observations from Wednesday's loss to ODU

-Early in the game, Old Dominion showed why experience matters. Monarchs senior 6-foot-10 forward Gerald Lee did a masterful job on the 49ers’ freshman forward Chris Braswell, at one point spinning around Braswell to get to the rim for a reverse layup. Lee made 5-of-6 shots in the first half.

-Charlotte forward Shamari Spears didn’t practice much since Sunday’s game at Winthrop, nursing tendonitis in his right knee. He still started Wednesday’s game. Although Spears didn’t appear slowed by the injury, ODU kept him away from the basket and he was relegated to mostly jump shots – not what he does best.

-In the first half, Charlotte made four shots – that averages to one made shot every five minutes of play. There is no way that can be good.

-There’s quite a connection with Old Dominion and the NBA’s former Charlotte Hornets. Retired jerseys of Kenny Gattison and Dave Twardzik hang from the rafters of the Constant Convocation Center. Twardzik is a former general manager of the Hornets, while Gattison played for the Hornets from 1989 to 1995.

-In an apparent dose of Christmas spirit, two ODU fans arrived with painted blue and white faces and adorned with hair made of icicles and necklaces featuring Christmas ornaments.

Small increase in FSLs since football decision

The Charlotte 49ers have seen only a slight increase in the sale of football seat licenses since the school's board of trustees decided Dec. 11 to proceed with plans to begin fielding a team in time for the 2013 season.

As of Wednesday, 3,218 FSLs have been sold - just 15 more since the number was last reported on Dec. 7.

With the cost of FSLs ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 each, that equates to about $3,978,000 in start-up funds. Charlotte's official FSL marketing campaign ended in September.

The original recommendation by chancellor Philip Dubois to the school's board of trustees called for the sale of 5,000 FSLs at $1,000 apiece to raise $5 million in startup funds.

School officials say FSLs are the only way for non-students to guarantee a seat at a Charlotte 49ers football game.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Who wants to see 49ers vs. Old Dominion?

I have come across five tickets for Wednesday night's Charlotte 49ers men's basketball game against Old Dominion in Norfolk, Va.

I can give the tickets out as two groups - one group of two, the other of three - or individual tickets. No transportation is provided, of course. You're on your own to get to Norfolk.

If interested, give me your contact information below and your Holiday wish for the 49ers this season. I'll provide information to pick up the tickets at the Constant Convocation Center. Game time is 7 p.m.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Observations from Sunday's win over Winthrop

-It will billed as road game, but the large number of Charlotte 49ers fans who made the trip down to Rock Hill made Sunday’s game appear much more like a battle on a neutral court. One group of Charlotte fans, apparently in practice for football coming in 2013, held a large tailgate party in the Winthrop Coliseum parking lot hours before game time.

-Was it a defensive struggle or battle of offensive ineptitude? With nine minutes left in the first half, Winthrop led 13-12. At that point, the Eagles were shooting 33.3 percent from the field, while the 49ers were holding steady at 26.7 percent.

-While the 49ers’ offense seemed to sputter much of the game give it credit for producing when needed. Four times in the second half Winthrop closed the margin to two points. Each time, Charlotte scored on its next possession.

-Winthrop did an excellent job disrupting the 49ers’ transition game. The key was Winthrop coach Randy Peele’s decision to put two defenders when possible on point guard DiJuan Harris at the start of Charlotte’s possessions, thus slowing his ability to run the court and find open teammates.

-A shooter please? Charlotte guards Shamarr Bowden, Ian Andersen and Derrio Green were a combined 1-for-13 from 3-point range.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Teams need to 'be like a Duke to beat us.'

Ian Andersen and walkon Kyle Church are the only two seniors on the Charlotte 49ers's roster who have spent four seasons with the 49ers. I asked Andersen before practice on Friday to talk about the different teams he's been a part of during his career at Charlotte. He was very candid in his assessment and in the potential of this year's team, which is 8-1 heading into Sunday's game at Winthrop.

"My freshman year, that team just didn't have good chemistry. So that was a bad year in terms of team chemistry. Last year was a good year in terms of chemistry, we just had bad year with injuries and so forth. We just didn't do the right things all the time, but I thought we played hard and played pretty unselfishly.

"My sophomore year, that was special. Lee (Goldwire) had a great year. We really found Leemire. This team is different. On this team we just have more firepower. Two years ago, we knew Lee had to get off; Lee had to be good for us to be competitive - and he was. And the games he didn't, most of them we lost.

"This year, Shamari (Spears) can dominate a game but if we have a game where people throw two or three guys on him, there are other guys who can step up. This is definitely the deepest team I've been a part of here. That's exciting.

"A team is going to have be like a Duke to beat us. Duke played great and they are a great team, but we played poorly in that game. That is what teams are going to bring to beat us - a lot of athleticism, size, aggressiveness. We just have too much firepower."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

49ers among NCAA statistical leaders

With the Charlotte 49ers' 8-1 start to the men's basketball season, it shouldn't come as a surprise the 49ers, both as a team and some individuals, rank among the statistical leaders in NCAA Division I competition.

In the latest NCAA statistics through games played Dec. 13, here are Charlotte's highlights:

-Charlotte ranks 17th in the country in scoring offense, averaging 82.7 points per game. VMI leads the nation at 94.0 ppg.
-Charlotte is 33rd in the country in blocked shots per game (5.6 per game). UConn leads with 9.6 a game.
-Charlotte freshman forward Chris Braswell is tied for 42nd in the country in rebounds per game, averaging 9.6. Artsiom Parakhouski of Radford leads with 15.0 rpg.
-Senior point guard DiJuan Harris is tied for 33rd, averaging 5.6 assists per game. He is also 25th in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.54). Ronald Moore of Siena leads with 8.0 apg.
-Phil Jones is 24th in country in blocks per game, averaging 2.7. Jarvis Varnado of Mississippi State leads, averaging 5.2 per game.

To see the most recent NCAA statistics, go here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dickie V gives Atlantic 10 basketball props

ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale lifted heavy praise on Atlantic 10 men's basketball in a column appearing on on Monday.

"The league doesn't want to be underrated any more," Vitale wrote. As evidence of the league's strength, Vitale pointed to Temple's win over Villanova and Charlotte's win at Louisville.

You can read Vitale's column here.

49ers picked to sweep A-10 indoor track titles

Charlotte has been selected to defend its Atlantic 10 men’s and women’s indoor track & field crowns in voting conducted by the league’s head coaches.

The 49ers’ women’s team claimed their fourth consecutive title last season as they held off runner-up Dayton, 175-139. Charlotte is led by junior Amanda Goetschius, the defending A-10 champion in the mile (4:53.36) and bronze medalist in the 3,000m (9:58.90), and 2009 400m dash champion Kortnie Coleman (56.31).

On the men’s side, Charlotte has been selected to seize its fourth A-10 title in the past five seasons. The 49ers will be anchored by two-time defending 400m dash champion Darius Law and sophomore Sam Jordan, who captured gold in the 55m dash (6.35) at last year’s championship.

49ers golf adds talented recruit

Charlotte 49ers golf coach Adam Pry recently announced Joe Toland of White River Junction, Vt., had signed to play golf for the 49ers beginning in 2010-11 season.

After placing third in his US Junior Amateur Qualifer at Walpole CC in Massachusetts, Toland advanced to the 64-player match play portion of the tournament, where he lost in the first round. He was also an alternate for the 2009 US Amateur.

A strong student who carries a 3.44 GPA, Toland placed sixth out of 108 players at the World Series of Junior Golf and sixth out of 75 golfers at the Lessing's AJGA Junior Classic in Lawrence, NY.

"Joe has had a very solid junior career and is one of the best players in the New England area," Pry said. "His sound technique and competitive spirit are great foundations to build upon and will serve him well at the collegiate level."

The 49ers have won four straight Atlantic 10 Championships and advanced to the NCAA Tournament five straight times.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Updated 49ers stats, roster and schedule

Here are links to the 49ers' updated stats, roster and schedule following Saturday's win over Gardner-Webb:

Current men's basketball roster is here.

Updated men's basketball statistics can be found here.

Updated schedule can be found here.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Observations from 49ers' win over Gardner-Webb

-Tyler Lewis, one of the most highly touted high school sophomore guards in the country, was on hand for Charlotte’s win Saturday over Gardner-Webb. After the game, Lewis said he is considering several colleges but Charlotte and Wake Forest were at the top of his list. “I don’t feel any pressure at all but I’m not going to make my decision until the end of my junior year,” Lewis said. Lewis is the younger brother of 49ers walk-on Colby Lewis, a freshman.

-Charlotte’s versatility is showing up even before games get out of hand on the scoreboard. The 49ers had eight different players score in the first 11 minutes of the game, including six straight to start the game by freshman forward Chris Braswell.

-The 49ers student section was on the attack again, twice – once before the game and once before the second half started – heckling fans in the stands that were wearing apparel from other schools besides Charlotte.

-Charlotte officials had no sooner notified the attending media that point guard DiJuan Harris would likely miss the rest of the game after rolling his left ankle in the first half when Harris burst from the locker room and rejoined his teammates.

Niners bounce back with 4th straight win

The Charlotte 49ers women’s basketball team, fresh off its first Atlantic 10 Conference title, got a rude awakening to the new season.

A tough schedule combined with trying to replace the roles of two prominent starters lost to graduation left the 49ers off to a 1-5 start.

On Saturday, Charlotte defeated former Conference USA rival Southern Miss 72-53 at Halton Arena, finishing a four-game homestand undefeated.

The 49ers (5-5) had four players in double figures, led by 16 points apiece from Erin Floyd and Ashley Spriggs.

“This is the type of team we’ve been looking for. There’s no question we are a better team when we have three or four people in double figures and our guards on the boards,” said Charlotte coach Karen Aston.

“It’s better when we’re not just standing around watching one person play.”

Charlotte held Southern Miss (4-5) to 28.1 percent shooting from the field, including 20.6 percent in the second half.

While the 49ers struggled from the 3-point line (3-of-15), they took full advantage of their numerous visits to the free throw line, making 19-of-22 shots.

“We started off the year extremely rough,” said Floyd. “We didn’t loss a lot of girls, but we lost important roles on this team. It took a while for our freshmen to get adjusted to our system.

“There’s nothing like playing at home. We know what it’s like to win here now and that will only make us better.”

The 49ers return to the road and play next Sunday at No. 3 Notre Dame.

Friday, December 11, 2009

And these guys can play basketball, too

The Charlotte 49ers men's basketball team has put together their, uhm, talents, off the court to provide 49ers fans this special holiday message. Enjoy.

View the special holiday message here.

FAQ: Niners adding football in 2013

An FAQ on today's announcement that the Charlotte 49ers will proceed with the launch of a football program in 2013:

What does today's vote by the Board of Trustees mean?

It means that Charlotte will begin fielding a football team in 2013 in the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly Division I-AA. This is the same division of football the Southern Conference plays. The plan the board adopted -- Plan E, as it was presented to the board -- also means the school will go ahead with a permanent football facility, not the temporary facilities discussed previously.

Why was it crucial that the vote be taken today?

The timeline for the state's budgeting and the discussion of fee increases for students requires that the decision not be delayed if the team is to start in 2013.

How will they pay for a permanent facility?

Partially through money already raised -- almost $4 million in the sale of about 3,200 Forty-Niner Seat Licences and $1.6 million in corporate contributions, almost exclusively from the members of the Board of Trustees, all of whom contributed. There was one unnamed trustee who contributed $1 million of that total. Chancellor Phillip Dubois told the board he is hopeful corporate contributions from other sources and FSL sales will increase now that the program has become more concrete.

The rest will come from a debt service fee that will be charged to students to cover the $40.5 million in debt needed to finance the stadium. The maximum amount of that fee will be $120 per year per full-time student, and the fee will be charged for 30 years until the debt on the stadium is retired, unless a donor steps forward or the debt is paid off early in some other way.

How about the cost of actually running the program? Where is that money coming from?

The operational budget will be covered in part by ticket sales and what the school hopes will be increased donations to the athletic foundation by those who want to keep their FSLs.

But most of that budget -- about 60 percent -- will be covered by an increase in student fees. Those fees, under Plan E, will begin to phase in for Fall 2011, at $50, and rise $50 per year to a maximum of $200 in 2014 and beyond. Those increases would stay within the 6.5 percent per year cap on fee increases the the UNC System Board of Governors has imposed on all schools.

Students will, in effect, subsidize football at the school (as they do at most schools where football is played, even at the Football Bowl Subdivision level), paying $320 a year in 2014 and beyond.

That fee could fall if additional FSLs are sold or additional donors are found.

What are the chances those donors could be found?

Dubois says there are millions more in requests out, and that the response has been positive. Still, many potential donors and FSL holders, he says, are waiting for the program to become more concrete before opening their wallets. The program became more concrete today.

What if the vote had been to delay football for three years, which was one of the options presented to the board?

Dubois told the board he feared a delay would hurt the credibility of any future efforts to add football at the school, and possibly kill the chance for adding the sport completely.

Another reason not to wait: Interest rates and construction costs will never be lower than they are now. Ironically, the same problems in the economy that have hurt the push for FSL sales and corporate donations may have saved the effort by depressing those rates and costs.

Plan E? Can you give me a short history of the plans?

Plan A, introduced by the advisory committee that did the original football study, called for a permanent on-campus stadium and all accompanying facilities and a fast timeframe for moving to the FBS, playing FCS for only three years.

Plan B, introduced by Dubois when it became clear Plan A was too ambitious, called for a temporary stadium on campus, at the site of the current Belk Track, and a longer stay in FCS that would last for the forseeable future.

Plan C, introduced more recently, called for a permanent field house but a temporary stadium with some permanent structures on the eventual on-campus site for the football stadium. That plan required more fundraising -- $12-$13 million for a field house and $4-6 million to relocate intramural fields -- than has been accomplished. It became clear that plan would not be approved without solid evidence of more fundraising.

Then there were the three plans Dubois offered to the board Friday:

Plan D called for the permanent field house and some permanent portions of the stadium -- mostly restrooms and concessions -- with temporary bleachers. That plan would have reduced the facilities fee on students to $74 but required the fee to fund operations to be phased in starting in 2010 at $50 and rising by $50 a year to $200 by 2o13.

Plan E called for the permanent stadium to be built from the outset, taking advantage of low interest rates and construction prices caused by the poor economy. The other big advantages of the plan were that it delayed the implementation of the operational fee by a year, eliminated the need for $800,000 a year in bleacher and other rentals, and the permanent stadium improves the game day experience for fans. It also solves the near-term fundraising problem by shifting the capital construction cost to students.

Plan F would have tabled football for three years until the economy improves, but Dubois feared the effort may have been difficult to restart at that point and could have effectively killed the football effort at Charlotte.

Are there any downsides to Plan E?

Those Dubois acknowledged to the board are that it imposes higher fees on students in difficult times, could contribute to the perception that the BOT is insensitive to student cost issues, and could influence some donors to believe private fundraising is no longer necessary.

What details do we know on the permanent stadium?

It'll seat 15,000 people (expandable to 40,000 if and when there is a need), roughly broken up this way: 5,500 seats for FSL holders, 7,500 seats for students, 2,000 seats for the general public. Some or all of the general public seats could be eaten up by additional FSL sales, and the school hopes to sell as many FSLs as possible.

Where do the tuition and fees at Charlotte fall in the grand scheme with this increase?

It's unclear what other schools would do between now and 2013 in terms of tuition and fees, but using today's costs at other schools, Charlotte would rise one spot, from fifth to fourth, in overall cost.

Also, it's worth noting that there is a debt service fee on students of $53 that expires after the 2014-15 academic year.

So what's next?

The timeline is not set, but some things we know:

The school will look for a conference affiliation. It's also possible the Niners could begin play as an independent.

A coach likely would be hired no later than 2011, to start working on the recruiting class of 2012 (current high school sophomores).

The first recruiting class, which FCS limits to 30 players for institutions starting new programs, would enter in the Fall 2012 and redshirt for a year. A second class of 30 would enter in Fall 2013, as the team starts play. After that, there is a 63-scholarship limit in the FCS, with no more than 30 allowed in any one year. The 63 scholarships may be divided among no more than 85 players.

Stadium construction would start in 2011.

Can you give me a refresher on the FSL concept?

FSL's are basically a funding mechanism that gives the owner the right to buy tickets to see the Niners play football starting in 2013. The proceeds go toward the capital fund that pays for the stadium and related facilities.

There are two tiers, Green and Gold, that provide different levels of seating.

Green FSLs cost $1,000 per seat (there are financing plans) and are generally between the end zones and the 30-yard lines on both ends of the field. Gold FSLs cost $2,500 each, but your seats would be between the 30-yard lines.

There are also annual contribution minimums for all gold FSLs and to make green tier FSLs bought in groups of five or more. If you buy four or fewer green FSLs, you can make a $250 annual contribution to keep your seats from being moved, or make no contribution and risk being moved to a less attractive location.

The goal is to sell 5,500 FSLs, but that isn't a limit. About 3,200 have been sold so far.

I'm ready to buy an FSL, now that I know about the stadium and the start date. How can I do that?

Call the Athletic Foundation at 704-687-4950 and speak with anyone, or you can email Mike Hummer at

I have other questions. How can I get them answered?

Post them in the comments section and we'll answer as many as we can.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

BoT donates $1.6 million toward 49ers football

Philip Dubois, chancellor for UNC Charlotte, distributed a letter on Dec. 4, outlining several updates on campus, including a capital gift toward the start up of a football program from the school's board of trustees.

Here is the relevant portion:

Football Update: The architectural team of Jenkins-Peer/DLR Group has been selected to prepare conceptual designs for the football fieldhouse, practice fields, and football stadium. The complex will be located between the Mariam and Robert Hayes Baseball Stadium and the Charlotte Research Institute on the large intramural fields currently located there. Part of our planning includes relocation of the intramural fields that will be lost due to this new construction.

Meanwhile, the Board of Trustees will meet on December 11 to decide whether to move forward with the original timetable for the establishment of football (beginning play in the fall of 2013) or to delay the program for some period of time until the economy improves. Sales of Forty-Niner Seat Licenses (FSL’s) continue in an effort to raise some of the necessary start-up monies. Individuals interested in purchasing FSL’s who have not yet done so are strongly encouraged to visit or call 704/687-4949. Board of Trustee Vice Chair Gene Johnson continues to lead the capital campaign component of the fundraising efforts. Notably, the Board of Trustees has committed to contributing $1.6 million in personal gifts to the 49ers football program. In recognition of this commitment by 100% of the members of our Board, the Student-Athlete Academic Center within the football fieldhouse will be named in their honor.

You can read the entire chancellor's letter here.

Stay tuned to coverage of Friday's board of trustees meeting, which is expected to include a significant decision regarding the football program.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Updated 49ers stats, roster and schedule

Here are links to the 49ers' updated stats, roster and schedule following Tuesday night's lopsided win over Winston-Salem State:

Current men's basketball roster is here.

Updated men's basketball statistics can be found here.

Updated schedule can be found here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bring your new toys to the games

The Charlotte 49ers Student-Athlete Advisory Committee in conjunction with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves invites fans to donate a new, unwrapped toy for the Toys for Tots program.

Toys will be collected during the men's and women's basketball games Tuesday at Halton Arena. Collection boxes will be located at the entrances where tickets are scanned.

The women's team plays Western Carolina at 5:30 p.m., while the men's game against Winston-Salem State tips off at 8 p.m.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's the shock of the week babeeeeee!

ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale had some good words for the Charlotte 49ers in his weekly column released on Monday. Charlotte's win Saturday over then-No. 20 Louisville was named his "Shock of the Week."

Here was Vitale's entry:
SHOCK OF THE WEEK: Charlotte over Louisville
Charlotte handed injury-depleted Louisville its worst home loss under Rick Pitino with a surprisingly easy 87-65 win. Derrio Green had 20 points as Bobby Lutz’s squad hit 10 trifectas en route to the stunner.

Saturday night after the game, Vitale posted a comment about the 49ers on his Twitter account, @DickieV "Shock score of the night - Charlotte 87&Louisville 65! game was at Pitino's place."

49ers short of chancellor's football goal

As of Monday, the Charlotte 49ers have raised nearly $4 million toward a $5 million goal to start up a football program in time for the 2013 season. The school's board of trustees is scheduled to hear an update on the football program during its meeting on Friday.

Charlotte has sold 3,203 football seat licenses. With the cost of FSLs ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 each, that equates to about $3.96 million. Charlotte's official FSL marketing campaign ended in September.

The original recommendation by chancellor Philip Dubois to the school's board of trustees called for the sale of 5,000 FSLs at $1,000 apiece to raise $5 million in startup funds.

Although the campaign is over, school officials have continued to operate on the same timetable pending a decision by the board of trustees to the contrary and FSLs can still can be purchased (22 were sold in the last month).

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Braswell named A-10 rookie of the week

Charlotte 49ers freshman forward Chris Braswell got an additional honor following his stellar performance in the 49ers' 87-65 upset of No. 20 Louisville on Saturday night. On Sunday, Braswell was named the Atlantic 10 Conference's rookie of the week.

Braswell, a 6-foot-8, 235-pound forward, scored a season high 21 points and had 14 rebounds in 20 minutes against Louisville. He had eight rebounds in Charlotte's win over East Carolina last Wednesday. Braswell leads the team with three double-doubles.

Notes: Charlotte senior guard DiJuan Harris averaged 14.5 points and 6.5 assists and committed just two turnovers in the 49ers’ wins over East Carolina and Louisville and was named to the A-10's weekly honor roll. ... Longtime college basketball analyst Dick Vitale offered up the following comment last night on his Twitter account, @DickieV "Shock score of the night - Charlotte 87&Louisville 65! game was at Pitino's place."

Being routed by Charlotte 'embarrassing'

Coach Rick Pitino, during his 3 minute, 15 second news conference, said injuries weren't an excuse.

But one Louisville player called Saturday's 22-point loss to Charlotte "embarrassing."

The story from the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Updated 49ers stats, roster and schedule

Here are links to the 49ers' updated stats, roster and schedule following Saturday night's 87-65 win over No. 20 Louisville:

Current men's basketball roster is here.

Updated men's basketball statistics can be found here.

Updated schedule can be found here.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

More about Charlotte's upset of No. 20 Louisville

More notes and observations from the Charlotte 49ers' 87-65 win Saturday night over 20th-ranked Louisville:

Charlotte needed this guy: Point guard DiJuan Harris handled constant fullcourt pressure from the Cardinals and finished the game with 12 points, a season-high seven assists and one turnover, which came in the final minutes of the game.

"If we don't have DiJuan Harris, we don't win this game," Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz said. "He totally negated the pressure. When he had the ball, they really could not affect us. We were able to do what we wanted to do."

How about those freshmen: Freshmen Chris Braswell, Shamarr Bowden and K.J. Sherrill combined for 40 points and 19 rebounds in Saturday's win. Braswell had his third double-double of the season with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Bowden had 17 points, including five 3-pointers, and Sherrill had three rebounds, two points and a steal in 11 minutes of action.

"The second half we came out and we needed to start off the first five minutes with the same intensity we started the game," said Braswell. "We came out, hit them hard and didn't let up."

Bowden said he was able to take advantage of Louisville's focus on Charlotte's inside game. "That opened up things for the outside," Bowden said, "and then as the game went on and they tried to stop the outside, we went back inside. They didn't know who to guard."

Who would have thought? Another big game, another clutch night from the free throw line for the 49ers. Charlotte made 17 of its 19 free throws (89.5 percent) in the game. The 49ers are now shooting 75.7 percent from the line for the season, which would be a record under 12-year coach Bobby Lutz if it holds up through the season.

Niners looking to create a memory

Many of the Charlotte 49ers' best memories have been created against the Louisville Cardinals, and Bobby Lutz and his team have a chance to create another one tonight (7 p.m., ESPNU) in Freedom Hall. The question is, can they? Read the story at, then leave your game score prediction in the comments below.

For more on the Niners, check out this look back at the series history, and the Observer's capsule looks at today's college basketball action.

Other links:

Louisville basketball hurting for guards / Louisville Courier-Journal

Friday, December 4, 2009

Two starters out for Louisville on Saturday

No. 20 Louisville will be without starting guards Jerry Smith and Preston Knowles and top reserve Peyton Siva in Saturday's game with the Charlotte 49ers.

Knowles and Siva are still recovering from injuries sustained in a loss to UNLV last Saturday while Smith strained his Achilles in practice on Thursday. Smith scored 17 points off the bench in the Cardinals' win over Stetson on Wednesday.

Reggie Delk is expected to move from small forward to shooting guard and senior walk-on Chris Brickley could backup Edgar Sosa at the point. George Goode is l ikely to see the first start of his career at power forward.

"This is a team that has a devestating inside attack. I watched the Hofstra game and Hofstra is a good basketball team this year and Charlotte beat them on the road," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said.

"Duke dominated them but outside of that, Charlotte has a very good inside attack and watching that you could see that Hofstra could not stop it. They're a great transition team, they got guys that can beat you off the bounce on the perimeter, this will be an interesting game to say the least for us."

Note: According to the 49ers' ticket office, 3,402 student tickets were distributed for Wednesday's win over East Carolina. That means students and their guests accounted for just over 51 percent of the official attendance of 6,634.

The shot Lutz never saw go in

As part of a package advancing the Charlotte 49ers' game Saturday at 20th-ranked Louisville, I asked coach Bobby Lutz, former player and now assistant coach Bobby Kummer, and Stan Olson, who used to serve as The Observer's 49ers beat writer, to share their favorite Louisville memories.

As a sneak peek, here is Stan's memorable moment:

“The game, back on Jan. 22, 2000, was back-and-forth, sprinting through the second half before a huge and roaring crowd in Louisville's Freedom Hall. Then Charlotte guard Diego Guevara pulled up on the left wing, right in front of the 49ers' bench. He was open, 2 feet behind the three-point line. He quickly brought the ball up past his face, preparing to shoot.

"At that moment, Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz, standing perhaps 10 feet from Guevara, spun on his heels, faced the fans behind his bench and threw his arms above his head in the universal signal for a 3-pointer. Guevara had just released the ball, but Lutz never saw it. He remained standing, arms high, waiting.

"Of course it swished. And the 49ers gradually pulled away to a 69-59 victory.”

Expect A-game effort from Louisville

Longtime Louisville Courier-Journal columnist Rich Bozich takes a look at the Cardinals' opponents for December, who have an average Sagarin rating of 188.

A poor performance against the first of those, Stetson Wednesday night, included the team meeting only one of six goals and had Cardinals coach Rick Pitino scheduling a 6 a.m. windsprint session Thursday to get his team's attention.

Think the Niners might face a better effort?

Read the full story here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hofstra votes to drop football

At the same time Charlotte is in a fundraising drive to add a football program, Hofstra is dropping its team, citing fading interest and the economy.

"The cost of the football program, now and in the future, far exceeds the return possible," Hofstra president Stuart Rabinowitz said Thursday.

The AP story:

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) – Hofstra University dropped football because of costs and fading interest and will use the $4.5 million spent annually on the team on scholarships and other priorities.

The board of trustees voted unanimously Wednesday night to shut the program, which had been in existence since the school's founding in 1937.

“The cost of the football program, now and in the future, far exceeds the return possible,” Hofstra president Stuart Rabinowitz said Thursday. He added that despite Hofstra having sent several players to the NFL, the program does not attract enough national attention.

“Given that, along with the low level of interest, financial support and attendance among our students, our alumni and the community, the choice was painful, but clear.”

Rabinowitz noted that even on the Hofstra campus, there was little interest in the team. He said students were offered free tickets to games, but an average of only 500 students attended games at the 13,000-seat campus stadium, and that included cheerleaders and a pep band. Hofstra has a student body of 12,500, but only 4,200 live on campus. The average attendance this season – students and nonstudents – was 4,260.

Rabinowitz said the stadium would still be used for NCAA lacrosse matches, where crowds sometimes top those at football games. It also will be used for high school football playoff games and possibly outdoor concerts.

The decision follows a two-year review of sports spending at Hofstra. Rabinowitz said there are no plans to cut any other sports at the Long Island school.

Last month, Northeastern University in Boston dropped football after 74 years. Northeastern, like Hofstra, plays in the Colonial Athletic Association. Four of the final eight teams left in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs are from the league.

Hofstra was 5-6 overall and 3-5 in the league this season. Northeastern went 3-8, 3-5 in the CAA.

“We know this is a difficult time for our football team members, their dedicated coaches and loyal fans, and we will do everything we can to help them navigate this transition as smoothly as possible,” Rabinowitz said.

He said the 84 players were told of the decision Thursday. All players were told they can keep their scholarships if they remain at the school. Those who transfer will be eligible to play immediately.

“It's devastating,” redshirt junior linebacker Rashad Swanson of San Francisco said. “Football is pretty much our lives here. There's some guys who are thinking about staying. But me, personally, I'm thinking about leaving. I can't be here if I can't play football.”

Keith Ferrara, a junior from Queens, said his teammates were shocked.

“It was the last thing I was expecting them to say,” he said. “I had no idea it was coming. I want to play football, so I'm probably going to transfer out.”

Four former Hofstra players are now in the NFL: Kyle Arrington of New England, Stephen Bowen of Dallas, Willie Colon of Pittsburgh and Marques Colston of New Orleans. One of the best-known Hofstra players to have played in the NFL was receiver Wayne Chrebet of the New York Jets.

“I am both saddened and shocked to hear the news that the Hofstra University football program has ceased,” Colston said. “I owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to the university, my coaches and my former teammates and I am sure that they share in my disappointment.”

While Hofstra and Northeastern are dropping the sport, 13 new programs have been announced, including six next season.

Updated 49ers stats, roster and schedule

Here are links to the 49ers' updated stats, roster and schedule following Wednesday night's 80-68 win over East Carolina:

Current men's basketball roster is here.

Updated men's basketball statistics can be found here.

Updated schedule can be found here.

Jones moves into Top 10 in blocks

Charlotte 49ers junior 6-foot-10 center Phil Jones put in another solid performance Wednesday night as part of the 49ers' 80-68 win over East Carolina.

Jones was part of a Charlotte bench that outscored its counterparts at ECU 21-3. Jones finished with 10 points, five rebounds and four blocks.

With his fourth block, Jones moved into the 49ers all-time top 10 in career blocks. He is tied for 10th all-time with Sam Robson (1987-89) with 82. Jones has 17 blocks so far this season, an average of 2.8 per game.

"These last couple of games I don't think I've played really well. I think I was trying to do too much," Jones said. "Coach spoke to me about it and told me to just go out there and play like I know how. I think I played pretty good tonight."

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Charlotte nabs six early baseball signees

The Charlotte 49ers baseball program added six players during the early signing period for the 2011 season.

Tyler Barnette, Micah Bryan, Brock Hudgens, Ryan Mas, Jordan McNeely, and Zach Passerelle all signed early to play for the 49ers. Four - Barnette, Bryan, Hudgens and Mas - hail from North Carolina.

“We are very pleased with our early signing group,” said 49ers head coach Loren Hibbs. “This group allows us to stretch our roster based on their versatility and athleticism.”

Barnette plays for Hickory High and head coach David Craft. He also is the starting quarterback for the Red Tornadoes. The 6-3 Barnette pitches and plays the infield for Hickory and for his summer league team, The Carolina Lakemonsters.

Bryan is a 6-3 LHP, basketball player and quarterback for East Wilkes High. He led all pitchers in the state of North Carolina with 145 strikeouts.

Hudgens is a 6-0 RHP from Greensboro, who finished his junior season with a 5-1 record, and 2.00 ERA this past spring. Impact Baseball named him a Top 30 player in the state of North Carolina this summer.

Mas is another RHP who plays at Butler High in Matthews. He participated in the State Games and also played for the Carolina Twisters.

McNeely hails from Westminster, S.C. and is a two-way player in the outfield on the on the mound for Seneca High; Passerelle is a 6-3 catcher for Sparta High in New Jersey and hit .458 his freshman year.

49ers golf ends fall season ranked 51st

The Charlotte 49ers golf team, behind the play of senior all-America Corey Nagy, is ranked 51st by Golfstat in the final ranking of the fall season.

The 49ers, who are receiving votes in the GolfWorld/Nike Coaches poll under first-year head coach Adam Pry, produced a pair of sixth-place showings in their final two events of the fall -- both coming against competitive fields.

Nagy, who was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Week three times in the fall, posted an individual victory at the VCU Shootout, tied for fourth at the Aldila Intercollegiate (-5, 211) and tied for third at the Gifford Collegiate (-8, 208). He posted a 71.14 stroke average in the fall.