Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Another Charlotte 49ers coaching update

Late Monday night, Charlotte 49ers officials contacted Xavier associate head coach and former Wake Forest assistant Pat Kelsey about their head coaching position, Kelsey confirmed through a third party on Tuesday.

As recently as Monday afternoon, Kelsey had maintained he had not had contact with anyone from Charlotte.

Before joining head coach Chris Mack's staff at Xavier this season Kelsey spent five seasons as assistant coach at Wake Forest.

The Musketeers finished the season 26-9, winning their fourth straight Atlantic 10 regular season championship and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament before losing in double overtime to Kansas State.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Update on Charlotte 49ers coaching search

One new candidate has emerged while another seems more and more unlikely as the search for a new men's basketball coach for the Charlotte 49ers moves into its third week.

Xavier associate head coach and former Wake Forest assistant Pat Kelsey confirmed Monday through a third party that he has not been contacted by the 49ers regarding their coaching vacancy. Xavier's season is over so presumably if Charlotte were going to contact Kelsey they would have done so already.

However, a source close to Syracuse's primary basketball booster organization, The Hardwood Club, said Monday night the 49ers have contacted Orange assistant coach Mike Hopkins about Charlotte's head coaching job.

Syracuse athletic department officials did not immediately return a request for comment on Sunday.

Hopkins just completed his 15th season as an assistant to longtime Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim after finishing his playing career with the Orange in 1993. He came to Syracuse from Mater Dei High in Los Angeles and had a brief professional career in the CBA and in Europe before pursuing coaching.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Peterson: No contact from Charlotte 49ers

Appalachian State coach Buzz Peterson, whose team ended its season Thursday night with a loss to Pacific in the semifinals of the CollegeInsider.com tournament, confirmed Saturday he had not been contacted by the Charlotte 49ers regarding their coaching vacancy.

In a brief interview with the Observer on Saturday morning, Peterson declined to answer any specific questions about his interest in the job saying only, "I have had no contact with anyone at UNC Charlotte and I'm extremely happy to be coaching at Appalachian State."

Peterson, 46, is in his second stint as coach of the Mountaineers. ASU finished 24-13 this season and Peterson compiled a 79-39 record in his first tenure as coach. His overall college coaching record is 225-147.

Peterson has also coached at Tennessee, Tulsa, Coastal Carolina and before returning to Appalachian State, he served as director of player personnel for the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats. Peterson and his family continue to live in Charlotte.

Still in the mix as possible 49ers coaches are former Alabama coach Mark Gottfried; former Wyoming and Clemson coach Larry Shyatt, who is now associate head coach at Florida; Kansas assistant and former East Carolina coach Joe Dooley; Xavier associate head coach Pat Kelsey; and former Wake Forest and South Carolina coach Dave Odom.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Two more 49ers athletes earn honors

-For the second year in a row, Charlotte's Darius Law was named the Atlantic 10 Conference's Indoor Men's Student-Athlete of the Year. Law has won the award three times as he was named to the same honor last season for the indoor and outdoor season.

The Raleigh native owns a perfect 4.0 grade-point average in Business Management, currently serves as the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President and is the first Charlotte athlete to be selected as the A-10 representative for the National SAAC.

-Senior catcher Zane Williams was named to the College Baseball 360.com Primetime Performers List for his efforts in Charlotte's 4-1 week.

Williams drove in a game-high four RBI in Charlotte's home win over No. 11 Clemson last Tuesday. He cleared the bases with a three-RBI double down the third base line in the eighth inning as the Niners held on to beat the nationally-ranked Tigers.

He homered twice in Friday night's game against Harvard for five more RBI, drawing two walks and scoring three runs in a 15-3 rout of the Crimson.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

49ers baseball opens Atlantic-10 play

The Charlotte 49ers baseball team opens Atlantic 10 Conference play with a three-game series this weekend against St. Bonaventure at Hayes Stadium. The 49ers (12-5) will face the Bonnies at 6 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday.

The first 500 fans through the gates on Friday will receive a Nike/Charlotte replica jersey T-shirt. Freshman right-hander Corey Roberts (2-1, 3.38 ERA) will start for Charlotte with senior Dennis Sherba (0-2, 9.64 ERA) on the mound for the Bonnies.

This season, Charlotte is averaging 9.9 runs per game at home this year, allowing 6.5 runs at home this season. The Niners have scored a double-digit run total in nine of the 17 games this season, and 24 of the team's previous 51 contests.

Notes: Charlotte has trailed in all but one game this season, but has not lost when leading or tied after four innings. ... Junior Justin Wilson is the team's hottest hitter, with a team-best nine-game active hitting streak and nine RBI in that span. ... Charlotte's bullpen has seven of the team's 12 wins.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Updates on Charlotte 49ers coaching search

Some updates Wednesday in the Charlotte 49ers' search for a new men's basketball coach:

-Jim Marchiony, associate athletics director for external relations at Kansas, declined to answer whether Charlotte has sought permission to speak with Kansas associate head coach Joe Dooley, about the 49ers' job. Marchinoy said it is KU's policy to leave the public answer to that question to the school seeking permission. Charlotte athletics director Judy Rose has said she will make no public comments regarding the hiring process.

-Mark Gottfried, former coach at Murray State and Alabama and now an ESPN analyst, has spoken to Charlotte officials about the 49ers' coaching vacancy, a source said Wednesday. Through an ESPN spokesperson, Gottfried declined to comment when asked if he had interviewed for the job. Gottfried was 210-132 at Alabama, including five consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament.

-As of Wednesday, Charlotte officials have not sought permission to speak with Xavier associate head coach Pat Kelsey about the job, a source close to the Musketeers program confirmed. However, Xavier is still playing in the NCAA tournament.

-Charlotte officials have also not sought permission to speak with Appalachian State coach Buzz Peterson, ASU confirmed. However, like Kelsey, Peterson's school is still playing, hosting Pacific in the CollegeInsider.com tournament on Thursday.

Four Charlotte athletes claim A-10 honors

Led by Atlantic 10 Players of the Week Olafur Loftsson of men's golf and Andrea Rivera of women's tennis, the Charlotte 49ers took home four A-10 weekly honors for their perfomances this past week.

Loftsson won the Rio Pinar Invitational by two strokes to claim his first A-10 Player of the Week Award. Rivera went 3-0 on the week, including a pair of wins at the No. 1 flight, to capture her first-ever A-10 honor.

Freshman Andy Sajevic, who placed 12th at Rio Pinar to help the 49ers to a second-place finish, won his fourth A-10 Rookie of the Week honor to complete the sweep of awards by the 49ers golf program.

Men's track and field star Tadarrin Phronebarger, the A-10's Most Outstanding Rookie Performer of the indoor season, posted the third-fastest time in school history in the 800 meters to be named the A-10's Outdoor Track and Field Rookie of the Week.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Update on Charlotte 49ers coaching search

Add two more names to the list of candidates under consideration for the men’s basketball vacancy for the Charlotte 49ers.

Former Wyoming and Clemson coach Larry Shyatt, currently associate head coach at Florida, and Ohio U. coach John Groce, a former N.C. State assistant, are among those under consideration, according to a source close to the process.

Shyatt, 58, has worked previously for UNC Charlotte chancellor Dr. Philip Dubois. Shyatt spent one season as coach at Wyoming, going 19-9 and making an NCAA appearance in the 1997-98 season while Dubois was the school’s president.

Clemson hired Shyatt after his success at Wyoming and he was 70-84 in five seasons with the Tigers. He moved to the Florida Gators as an assistant in 2004 and was promoted to associate head coach in 2007.

Groce, 38, is 36-31 in two seasons at Ohio, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament this season before losing to Tennessee. Before moving to Ohio, he was an assistant at Ohio State, Xavier, Butler, N.C. State and Taylor University, where he graduated in 1994.

Ohio U., citing a policy of not commenting on personnel matters, would not say Tuesday whether Charlotte had asked for permission to speak with Groce about the 49ers job.

Another attractive coach might be Appalachian State’s Buzz Peterson, 46, whose family owns a house in Charlotte. He has declined comment on the job. His Mountaineers are playing in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

Peterson previously coached at Appalachian State (1996-2000), leading the team to a 79-39 record and a trip to the NCAA tournament. Before returning to the school this season, he coached Tulsa (26-11), Tennessee (61-59) and Coastal Carolina (35-25).

As of Tuesday night, ASU officials said they had not received a request from Charlotte seeking permission to speak to Peterson about the vacancy.

Also, remove Kansas State assistant Dalonte Hill from the mix. Sources say he is not under consideration. My original list of potential candidates also included Kansas assistant Joe Dooley, Wright State coach Brad Brownell, Wofford coach Mike Young and Siena coach Fran McCaffery.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Another candidate emerges: Larry Shyatt

Add another name to the candidate list for the men's basketball coaching position for the Charlotte 49ers.

Former Wyoming and Clemson coach Larry Shyatt, currently associate head coach at Florida, has joined former Wake Forest and South Carolina coach Dave Odom as a candidate for the 49ers' vacancy, according to a source close to the process.

Shyatt, 58, has worked previously for UNC Charlotte chancellor Dr. Philip Dubois. Shyatt spent one season as coach at Wyoming, going 19-9 and making an NCAA appearance in the 1997-98 season while Dubois was the school's president.

Clemson hired Shyatt after his success at Wyoming. He spent five seasons with the Tigers and compiled a 70-84 record. He moved to the Florida Gators as an assistant in 2004 and was promoted to associate head coach in 2007.

Shyatt's defensive philosophy has been credited in part for the Gators' run to the NCAA championship. His impact on the team was highlighted in this New York Times article.

UPDATE: Odom has also interviewed for the coaching vacancy at UNC Wilmington according to this article at the Wilmington Star News.

Green needs rest for tendon injury

Charlotte 49ers sophomore shooting guard Derrio Green has been diagnosed with tendinopathy, which is inflammation and micro tears, and scar tissue in his knee. He will need at least four weeks rest but will not require surgery.

Green had a magnetic resonance imagery test done last week after complaining of discomfort. Green was the second leading scorer this season, averaging 13.1 points a game. He was also second on the team in assists with 72.

Jeff Lebo, Bobby Lutz top candidates at ECU

Former Auburn coach and North Carolina basketball standout Jeff Lebo and former Charlotte 49ers coach Bobby Lutz are the top candidates for the head coaching vacancy at East Carolina, sources close to the hiring process confirmed to the Observer on Monday.

Lebo, who took the Tigers to one postseason tournament (NIT) in six seasons as coach at Auburn, is considered the top candidate, the sources said. One report from a radio station in the Greenville, N.C., area said Lebo has already been offered the job, but no agreement has been announced.

Lebo, a native of Carlisle, Pa., who played for North Carolina from 1985-88, began his college coaching career at Tennessee Tech.

Lutz, who was fired last week from Charlotte after 12 seasons as coach, had an interview with ECU athletics director Terry Holland last week. Lutz was 218-158 in 12 seasons with the 49ers, making five NCAA and three NIT appearances.

UPDATE: WRAL is reporting Lebo will be named as ECU's coach and officially introduced on Tuesday. Read the story here.

49ers baseball completes sweep of Harvard

Freshman Wes Hatley, a prep standout at South Stanly High, earned his first career win as the Charlotte 49ers completed a weekend series sweep with a 4-1 victory over Harvard on Sunday at Hayes Stadium.

Former Independence High star Corey Shaylor shot a ground ball down the third base line for an RBI single to break open a one-all tie in the sixth inning, with Charlotte (11-5) adding two more runs for the win.

The two teams combined for 46 runs in the first two games of their three-game series. Hatley was the pitcher of record when Charlotte took the lead. He tossed 1.2 innings of hitless baseball, struck out three and walked one for his first career decision (1-0).

Charlotte will play at N.C. A&T on Tuesday at 1 p.m. in a make-up game from earlier this season. The 49ers open Atlantic 10 Conference play next weekend at home versus St. Bonaventure.

NOTES: The four runs were the fewest for Charlotte in a win this season... Charlotte is averaging 9.8 runs per game overall, 10.6 per game at home... Charlotte batted .429 as a team for the weekend, with 14 extra-base hits, including two triples and five home runs.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What about Phil Ford as 49ers coach?

Read why Charlotte Observer NBA writer Rick Bonnell thinks the Charlotte 49ers should check out Charlotte Bobcats assistant coach Phil Ford as their next head coach.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

49ers win WNIT opener over Gardner-Webb

Kendria Holmes led five 49ers in double-figures with a career-high 22 points as the Charlotte 49ers earned a 74-60 win over Gardner-Webb Thursday night at Halton Arena in the first round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

The win also extends Charlotte’s home winning streak to 13 games.

The 49ers (18-13) advance to the second round and host N.C. A&T at 3 p.m. Sunday. The Aggies (22-10) upset Wake Forest 73-49 on Thursday night.

“It is exciting to win a postseason game at home in front of your fans,” Charlotte coach Karen Aston said. “We have played pretty well the last couple of weeks and that continued tonight.
“Kendria Holmes carried over her play from the A-10 Tournament. She looks much more comfortable running our team.”

Holmes, a former prep star at Charlotte Victory Christian, scored 14 of her 22 points in the first half. She also grabbed a career-high eight rebounds.

Ashley Spriggs scored 12, Shannon McCallum 11, Aysha Jones 11 and Erin Floyd had 10 points and 11 rebounds for the 49ers.

Gardner-Webb (28-5) was led by Courtney Epps, who scored 17 points off the bench. The 49ers held Big South player of the year Margaret Roundtree to two points and three rebounds.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

49ers baseball upsets 11th-ranked Clemson

This was one the Charlotte 49ers were determined not to let get away.

The 49ers have knocked off nationally-ranked opponents in recent seasons, but they have been on the road. Tuesday night, Charlotte let the home crowd in on the fun.

Senior catcher Zane Williams’ three RBI double with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning propelled the 49ers to an 11-10 upset of 11th-ranked Clemson at Hayes Stadium, Charlotte’s first win over a Top 25 opponent since its new stadium opened in March 2007.

The win is Charlotte’s first over Clemson since February 2004. It’s also the 49ers’ first win over a ranked opponent at home since a 4-2 victory over then-No. 20 East Carolina on April 13, 2002.

“It was a great environment. No question, a regional-type environment,” Charlotte coach Loren Hibbs said of the overflow crowd of 1,832. “They’ve got great players and a lot of guys on their roster, we tried to recruit. We beat a tremendous team tonight.”

Clemson (13-2) had trailed most of the game, falling behind 5-0 in the bottom of the second. The Tigers took their first lead of the game on a three-run home run by John Hinson in the top of the eighth.

Charlotte loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth on a single, a walk and a hit batter. With two outs, Williams connected on a 2-1 pitch straight down the third-base line to clear the bases.

Charlotte senior relliever Patrick Lawson closed out the top of the ninth for Charlotte, striking out the final batter while the Tigers had runners on first and second. Lawson (1-0) earned win while Tomas Cruz (1-2) took the loss for Clemson.

“We came into the dugout after they took the lead and our heads were down,” said Williams, who has had at least one hit and RBI in each of the last six games. Our coaches told us to get out there and make something happen. What a great game and crowd. I wish it was like that every night.”

The comeback was nothing new for the 49ers (8-4), who have trailed in all 12 games this season.

“We’ve done this all year so far,” Hibbs said. “Every single time we’ve had to come from behind to win.”

Charlotte returns to action at 6 p.m. Wednesday when the 49ers play at Western Carolina. The Catamounts beat Charlotte 5-3 on Feb. 23 in the teams’ previous meeting this season.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Links: Niners close book on Lutz era

Links from The Observer on the end of the Bobby Lutz coaching era at Charlotte:

Niners close book on Lutz era / Jim Utter

Niners justified in firing Lutz / Tom Sorensen

Lutz deserved one last shot / Scott Fowler

Potential replacements / Jim Utter

Timeline of the Lutz era / Jim Utter

Q&A with Judy Rose and Chancellor Dubois / Jim Utter

Monday, March 15, 2010

49ers women's basketball gets WNIT invite

The streak continues.

The Charlotte 49ers women’s basketball team will make its eighth consecutive postseason appearance after securing an invitation Monday night to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.

After the top three teams from the Atlantic 10 Conference received bids to the NCAA tournament, Charlotte - which tied for fourth in the league - got the conference’s automatic bid to the WNIT.

Charlotte (17-13) will host Gardner-Webb (28-4) at 7 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the WNIT. The winner meets the winner of Wake Forest/NC A&T in the tournament’s second round.

“I’m really proud of our team and our program, that’s a string we didn’t want to snap this year. That was one of our goals was not to be the team to break the string,” said 49ers coach Karen Aston.

“A couple of years ago I had a different feel, I didn’t know how the team felt at the end of the season. When the A-10 tournament was over, it was very clear this team didn’t want to stop playing. They seem very motivated.”

The 49ers lost to fifth-ranked Xavier in the semifinals of the A-10 tournament last week in Upper Marlboro, Md. The Musketeers ended up winning the tournament and received a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Charlotte won last season’s A-10 tournament and advanced to the NCAA tournament for just the second time in program history.

Q&A with Judy Rose and Dr. Philip Dubois

Charlotte 49ers athletics director Judy Rose and the school's chancellor, Dr. Philip Dubois, took questions Monday afternoon about their decision to fire 12-year men's basketball coach Bobby Lutz. Here are some of the questions and answers:

Q: What are the financial implications of buying out Lutz's contract while trying to start a football program?
Let me separate the football issue from this because football is totally separate from basketball. I never lumped the two together and said 'Can we do this or not?' You look at a program and say are we where we need to be in our basketball program knowing the importance of basketball to this university? We have a healthy (athletic) fund balance and you always have contingency plans and if not, then we're not doing a very good job of our budgeting process.

Q: Did the six-players-on-the-court technical in the A-10 tournament game with UMass play a role in the firing?
No. It did not. We didn't look at things in isolation. We looked at the last five years. The first five years Bobby was here was stellar, stellar performance. There were multiple appearances in the NCAA tournament. For whatever reason, when we joined the Atlantic 10 we've seen a difference in our success rate. It can be contributed to a lot of things but whatever it is, we've got to get it fixed.

Q: There has been a lot of talk about Lutz's performance over the past five seasons, but after the first two, he was given a contract extension. Doesn't that show that someone thought he was doing a good job?
I take full responsibility for the contract extension. At that time the year before Bobby went down and looked at the job at South Alabama and there was some uncertainty as to whether we would offer a contract. I think we really wanted because of his longevity and his past record here to give him every benefit of the doubt. In fact, we put in a number of provisions in his contract that I think will serve us well in recruiting a new coach. I take responsibility for it. You will have a hard time getting me to say anything negative about Bobby as an individual or even as a coach. We looked at the record the last five years, we've gone to the NIT twice and we've not gone three times and that by definition says you're out of the top 97 teams and maybe more than that. With the investment we've made in basketball, we have to be better than that.

Q: Did Bobby put up much of a counter argument?
I think Bobby was as he always is, a very straight-up guy. I think he understood the basis of the decision and he certainly had his views on what he thought he could do with another year but that was a point at which we were not going to compromise.

Q: Are you worried any of the current players will transfer?
Not really because I have a policy at the university that our players will not be released to transfer until they have played one year with a new coach. After one year, if they are unhappy, they are free to go and we will release them.

Is there a future 49er among them?

Future 49er?
Some potential candidates to replace 12-year Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz gleaned from sources, Web sites and best-guesses:

Joe Dooley, Kansas assistant: Big-time recruiter for Jayhawks also spent four seasons as head coach at East Carolina (1995-99).

Dalonte Hill: Kansas State assistant: Former 49ers player and assistant coach has proven a good recruiter but how about the Xs and Os?

Brad Brownell, Wright State coach: Former UNC Wilmington coach led Seahawks to Colonial Athletic Association titles and NCAA appearances in 2003 and 2006.

Fran McCaffery, Siena coach: Has taken three different schools to the NCAA tournament and spent six seasons as coach at UNC Greensboro.

Mike Young, Wofford coach: Leading the Terriers to their first NCAA appearance this season after beating Appalachian State in Southern Conference tournament final in Charlotte.

--Jim Utter

Statement from former 49ers coach Bobby Lutz

Statement from former 49ers coach Bobby Lutz:

"First of all, I would like to thank the media for being so fair to me over the years. Our program has benefitted greatly from your coverage.

"It has been a wonderful 15 years for me and my family and there's so many people to thank. Jeff Mullins and Melvin Watkins were instrumental to my growth as a coach and I am forever grateful for the opportunity and their guidance.

"I have also been fortunate to have terrific assistant coaches and players as well as their families who have sacrificed so much for our success.

"Our fans, especially the students who are dear to my heart, have been tremendous and a source of inspiration for me. They deserve the best and that is my hope for them.

"Lastly, I've enjoyed the love and support of my family and we have wonderful memories of our times at Charlotte.

"In closing, it has been a privilege and pleasure to coach at UNC Charlotte, my alma mater. I have been truly blessed and will forever bleed green."

49ers' official statement of Lutz firing

Lutz Released From Contract

Search For Replacement For All-Time Winningest Coach Begins Immediately

Charlotte, N.C. — UNC Charlotte Chancellor Dr. Philip Dubois and Director of Athletics Judy Rose, today, announced that head men’s basketball coach Bobby Lutz has been released from his contract, effective immediately.

“Since Bobby is an alumnus of this institution and has served here as a head or assistant coach for a decade and a half this was a personally and professionally difficult decision for us but we believe it’s in the long-term interest of 49ers basketball and the university as a whole,” Dubois said.

Lutz, who is the program’s all-time winningest coach, guided the 49ers to eight post-season trips in his12-year career. Those eight bids included a school-record five NCAA Tournament appearances, the last of which came in 2005. Since 2005, Charlotte has advanced to two National Invitation Tournaments (2006, 2008) in the last five years.

“This was an extremely difficult decision and not one that was made lightly or in haste,” said Rose. “Bobby has been an important part of the 49ers family and represented our university in a most positive manner. Our expectations for our program are high and our goal is to strive to be in the upper echelon of the Atlantic 10 with an opportunity to compete in the NCAA tournament on a regular basis.”

Lutz owns a 218-158 win-loss record (.580 winning pct.) as the 49ers head coach and an overall 21-year career coaching mark of 399-249 (.616), which includes a 181-91 record in nine years at Pfeiffer University. Over the last five years, the 49ers have posted an 83-75 overall record (.525), including a 41-39 mark (.513) in the Atlantic 10 Conference. The 49ers went 19-12 in 2009-10 and finished in a tie for fifth-place in the A-10 with a 9-7 record. Charlotte lost seven of its last eight games to fall out of A-10 Championship contention and post-season play.

In addition, Lutz’s coaching staff has also been released from its duties.

A national search for Lutz’s successor will begin immediately. Dubois and Rose will not discuss potential candidates until the announcement of the hiring.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

No postseason play for 49ers men's basketball

The Charlotte 49ers (19-12) failed to receive an invite from the National Invitation Tournament on Sunday night and will not participate in postseason play for the second consecutive season.

The 49ers have no interest in participating in the College Basketball Invitational or CollegeInsider.com tournaments, both play-to-play postseason tournaments.

Charlotte began the year 18-5 and 8-1 in the Atlantic 10 Conference but struggled mightily down the stretch, losing seven of their last eight games, including a first round home game in the A-10 tournament this week against Massachusetts.

The 49ers did make an eight-game improvement over last season, which is tops in the A-10 and ranks in the Top 10 nationally.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Charlotte 49ers headed to the NIT?

While there are many Web sites and "experts" who regularly try to predict the NCAA tournament field each year, far fewer exist that attempt to place teams in the National Invitation Tournament.

However, The Bracket Project does both, including predicting teams for the College Basketball Invitational and CollegeInsider.com tournaments (both of those are pay-to-play tournaments).

The Bracket Project has the Charlotte 49ers (19-12) in the NIT, playing in the Arizona State Region. Seton Hall, Alabama-Birmingham and Dayton are the other projected top seeds in the NIT.

You can see the whole breakdown of the projected NIT bracket here.

49ers baseball postponed again

For the second consecutive day, rain has postponed a scheduled Charlotte baseball home game, this time taking out the Thursday afternoon game scheduled against UNC Asheville. The two teams are attempting to find a make-up date.

The 49ers (6-3) will begin a two-game home series with Austin Peay on Friday at 4 p.m., with a second and final game slated for Saturday at 1 p.m.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Observations from Tuesday's loss to UMass

-Apparently there is time travel in Halton Arena. Massachusetts’ Ricky Harris went to the line for a one-and-one free throw opportunity with 38 seconds left in the first half. He missed the second and in the battle for the rebound, the ball rolled out of bounds with 32 seconds left. Charlotte got possession but as point guard DiJuan Harris crossed halfcourt, one of the referees said the shot clock had been mistakenly turned off. With no replay available the officials decided to start the play all over again – with 36 seconds left on the clock.

-I’m not so sure having first round conference tournament games held on the campuses of the higher seeds is such a good idea. In Charlotte’s case, students are on spring break, which greatly diminished turnover. Also, if a team’s fans are unsure whether it will actually make the trip to Atlantic City, N.J., for the final three games, it’s doubtful many would purchase tickets ahead of time.

-Charlotte junior forward Shamari Spears picked up an additional honor on Tuesday as The Sporting News named him to its all-Atlantic 10 second team. Spears, who averages 16.3 points and 6.0 rebounds a game, was named third-team all-conference by the league.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Looking ahead: UMass Minutemen

The Charlotte 49ers men's basketball team returns to action at 7 p.m. Tuesday when it hosts Massachusetts in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament at Halton Arena. Charlotte won the teams' only previous meeting this season, 72-58, on Jan. 30 in Amherst, Mass.

Here's a look at the Minutemen's roster.

Here's a look at the Minutemen's statistics.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Atlantic 10 tournament pairings

2010 Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Championship
Tuesday, March 9
First Round - Campus Sites

# 9 Duquesne at #8 St. Bonaventure 7:00
#10 George Washington at #7 Dayton 7:00
#11 Massachusetts at #6 Charlotte 7:00
#12 Saint Joseph's at #5 Rhode Island 7:00 (Cox)

Friday, March 12
Quarterfinals - Boardwalk Hall - Atlantic City, N.J.

Game 5 - #1 Temple vs. #8/#9 winner 12:00 (CBS CS)*
Game 6 - #4 Saint Louis vs. #5/#12 winner 2:30 (CBS CS)*
Game 7 - #2 Xavier vs. #7/#10 winner 6:30 (CBS CS)*
Game 8 - #3 Richmond vs. #6/#11 winner 9:00 (CBS CS)*

Saturday, March 13
Semifinals - Boardwalk Hall - Atlantic City, N.J.

Game 9 - Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner 1:00 (CBS College Sports)
Game 10 - Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner 3:30 (CBS College Sports)

Sunday, March 14
Finals - Boardwalk Hall - Atlantic City, N.J.

1:00 (CBS)

*CBS CS - regionalized coverage by CBS College Sports Network. Check local listings

Observations from Saturday's loss to Richmond

-Charlotte has had its best free throw shooting team in coach Bobby Lutz’s 12 seasons this season (73.6 percent) but when the 49ers had a chance to seal a win Saturday from the line in regulation, they came up short, making four-of-eight in the final two minutes, 32 seconds of the second half.

-Prior to the game, Charlotte recognized its senior class of Ian Andersen, DiJuan Harris and RaShad Coleman as well as Charles Dewhurst, who is graduating in May but forgoing his final season of eligibility to pursue graduate studies. Andersen also got to start for the first time this season and provided a bonus for the 49ers, scoring 12 first-half points on four 3-pointers.

-When Richmond’s Josh Duinker went to the line for a pair of free throws late in the first half, the Charlotte students broke out in a chant of “U-S-A, U-S-A.” Why? They had done their homework, apparently. Duinker hails from Sydney, Australia.

-If you couldn’t tell students were on spring break, the fact only six people comprised the pep band gave it away.

Women's soccer signs eight newcomers

The Charlotte 49ers women's soccer team, which has won three Atlantic 10 titles in the last four years, has received eight commitments for the 2010 season. The 49ers return 23 letter-winners and nine starters for head coach John Cullen's second season.

Joining the 49ers are Taylor Mackenzie Dulaney of Kernersville, Brenna Hartner of Dewitt, Mich., Alex Kubrick of Greensboro, Brooke Mulloy of Charlotte, Dakota Shawntae Olson of Las Vegas, Elizabeth Rounds of Matthews, Kelsey Thomas of Virginia Beach, Va. and Sarah Ann Elizabeth Waugh of Statesville.

"We are truly excited to welcome these young ladies to our Charlotte 49ers soccer family," Cullen said. "It has been very evident to us since day one of the recruiting process that these young ladies have demonstrated a desire to be part of what we are building upon.

"They come knowing the standards and are prepared to work hard and challenge themselves to continue to keep our program recognized as a national level soccer program."

Charlotte opens the 2010 season against Davidson at home on Aug. 27.

Looking ahead: Richmond Spiders

The Charlotte 49ers men's basketball team returns to action at 2 p.m. Saturday when it plays Richmond at Halton Arena on Senior Day. Charlotte won the teams' last meeting, 71-59, on Jan. 20 in Richmond.

Here's a look at the Spiders' roster.

Here's a look at the Spiders' statistics.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Observations from Wednesday's loss to Rhode Island

-Charlotte started the game with an effective zone, which caught Rhode Island by surprise. While the 49ers were able to run out to an early six-point lead, Charlotte lost its advantage in an avalanche of turnovers – eight in the first half, including four possessions in a row at one point. The pattern got worse in the second half, when the 49ers turned the ball over 10 more times.

-Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz shuffled his starting lineup for the first time in 17 games, going with junior Charles Dewhurst over An’Juan Wilderness and center Phil Jones in place of freshman forward Chris Braswell. Jones had six points and four rebounds at halftime but only two points and two rebounds in the second half. Braswell came off the bench to score 12 points to go with seven rebounds in the game.

-If you saw the game on TV there was no mistake, the 49ers did wear their home white uniforms. Rhode Island asked special permission to wear its road blue uniforms as the team was promoting a “Blue Out” as part of honoring seniors Keith Cochran and Lamonte Ulmer in their final home game. In a classy move, the Rams also recognized Charlotte’s seniors.

-Driving to the Rhode Island campus in blustery, snowing conditions I passed the school’s baseball stadium and was reminded the 49ers have been playing baseball for almost two weeks now. That’s life in the Atlantic 10.

McCallum, Spriggs earn A-10 honors

Charlotte 49ers women’s basketball’s junior guard Shannon McCallum and senior forward Ashley Spriggs earned All-Atlantic 10 honors on Wednesday.

McCallum, who was A-10 Sixth Player of the Year last season, was voted second-team All-Atlantic 10. She was also named to the A-10 All-Defensive team. McCallum, who needs 13 points to become the 18th player in school history to score 1,000 career points, leads the team in scoring (14.2 ppg), rebounding (7.4 per game), assists (2.9 per game) and steals (2.5 per game).

Spriggs earned honorable-mention All-Atlantic 10 honors. This is the fifth consecutive season the 49ers have had at least two players named All-Atlantic 10.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Looking ahead: Rhode Island Rams

The Charlotte 49ers men's basketball team returns to action at 7 p.m. Wednesday when it plays Rhode Island at the Ryan Center in Kingston, R.I. Charlotte lost the teams' last meeting, 65-58, last season in Charlotte.

Here's a look at the Rams' roster.

Here's a look at the Rams' statistics.

Monday, March 1, 2010

49ers open A-10 tourney play on Saturday

The Charlotte 49ers women's basketball team earned the fourth-seed in this season's Atlantic 10 Conference tournament and will open play on Saturday, facing the winner of Friday's game between No. 5 Saint Joseph's and No. 12 Fordham.

Charlotte (16-12, 9-5) is the defending tournament champion and was one of four teams to receive first round byes in the tournament, which will be played at Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md. It's the first time in the 28-year history of the tournament it will be played at a neutral site.

Regular-season champion Xavier is the tournament's top seed. Second-seed Dayton and No. 3 Temple join also received first-round byes. The semifinals will be played at noon and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, with both games broadcast on CBS College Sports. The championship game is 5 p.m. March 8 on ESPN2.

49ers softball wins tourney, now 11-1

The Charlotte 49ers softball team claimed their second tournament title in as many weeks by defeating Marshall 2-0 in the Green & White Tournament championship game on Sunday. Former Butler High star Emily Jeffrey struck out eight en route to her third win of the tournament and eighth of the season and she was named the tournament's Most Valuable Pitcher.

"It was another great weekend for our team and I'm very pleased with the improvements we have made on defensive end," Charlotte coach Amiee DeVos said. "We have once again been getting timely hitting."

Marshall's Rebecca Gamby was named the tournament MVP with her six hits on the weekend. The 49ers (11-1) return to action Tuesday, hosting Furman in a doubleheader that begins at 3 p.m.