Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summertime Charlotte 49ers news, notes

 I've been off for a few weeks. Aside from the big news of the unveiling of the football helmets (Is everyone good with the decision to go with white? I kind of liked the green option), here's some of what has been happening around Charlotte's athletic department:

-- Charlotte signed a 10-year marketing and sponsorship deal with IMG College that, a source confirms, is worth $8.15 million. The deal starts this coming school year and comes as Charlotte prepares to play football in 2013.

IMG College is based in Winston-Salem and represents more than 200 other schools, including Duke, Appalachian State, East Carolina, South Carolina, Clemson, Furman, Wofford and Wake Forest. It will handle all manner of multimedia and sponsorship rights for the 49ers, including radio advertising, the athletic website, venue signage, PA announcements, video boards (most visibly the football stadium's), game programs and event promotions and hospitality.

IMG already has worked with Charlotte. Its licensing group has handled the 49ers' trademark licensing program since 1987. It also means the 49ers' long association with Charlotte-based Signature Sports Group, with whom Charlotte has worked since 1997, will end.

-- The 49ers men's basketball team will be without center Chris Braswell (broken foot) when it plays four games in the Bahamas in August. Charlotte will play games against all-star teams from the Bahamas on Aug. 14 and 16. Although they'll be without Braswell, the 49ers will have their incoming freshmen -- Willie Clayton, Denzel Ingram, Shawn Lester, Darion Clark and Ivan Benkovic. The Bahamas trip will cap what should be a productive summer for the 49ers: The NCAA is now allowing coaches to work with players on a limited basis in the summer months. The 49ers are also permitted to practice for the Bahamas trip. The 49ers, incidentally, will stay at the famous Atlantis resort in the Bahamas.

-- Mark Bialkoski is the 49ers' new director of men's basketball operations. He replaces Rob Perron, who left in the spring to become an assistant at Newberry. Bialkoski will be assisted by Stephen Doughton. Both Bialkoski and Doughton have been with the program for the last few years.

-- Former 49ers basketball player K.J. Sherrill is transferring to Division II Augusta State, where he hopes  to play with his younger brother Keshun, who will be a freshman next season. K.J. Sherrill will redshirt this coming season to completely rehab a balky knee that plagued him his last two years at Charlotte.

Sherrill recently told the Salisbury Post (he played at nearby West Rowan High) that playing time was the main reason why he decided to transfer.

“Nothing against the coaches, I just felt like they didn’t give me the opportunity I deserved,” he said. “I thought the coaches would realize I should be on the court. It just didn’t work out.”

Charlotte's other player who transferred out, guard Jamar Briscoe, will play for Division II Mountain (W.Va.) State next season.

--  Charlotte's cross country schedule:
Aug. 31, at Western Carolina Invitational.

Sept. 8, Charlotte Duals (at Concord); 21, at Toledo (Ohio) Regional Bubble Buster; 28, Charlotte Invitational.

Oct. 13, at Chili Pepper Festival (Fayetteville, Ark.); 27, at Atlantic 10 championships (Philadelphia).

Friday, July 20, 2012

49ers' Chris Braswell out eight weeks

   Charlotte 49ers senior center Chris Braswell has suffered a broken bone in his foot that will require surgery. Braswell, the 49ers leading returning scorer and rebounder, broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot and will be out approximately 8 weeks.

   - Jim Utter

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Can Charlotte 49ers fans expect to see a repeat?

   Ja’Quil Capel, a graduate of West Montgomery High, tied an East-West All-Star Game record for most points and touchdowns scored by an individual, as the East won a dominating victory 35-9 Wednesday night in the annual N.C. Coaches Association football classic.

   Capel, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound record-setting quarterback for West Montgomery, accounted for four of the East’s five rushing touchdowns on the night. He finished the night with 70 of the East squad’s 282 yards rushing.

   During his career at West Montgomery, Capel finished with 78 rushing towndowns and 35 passing, totaling 8,582 yards of offense.

   And perhaps most importantly? He's going to play college football for the Charlotte 49ers, who field their first team in fall 2013.

   Capel was one of eight future 49ers taking part in the game. The others: Brandon Banks (High Pont, N.C./Southwest Guilford H.S.), Jalen Holt (Norwood, N.C./South Stanly H.S.), Larry Ogunjobi (Greensboro, N.C./Ragsdale H.S.), Mark Pettit (Greensboro, N.C./Western Guilford) and Mason Sledge (Monroe, N.C./Monroe H.S.), all played on the West team. In addition to Capel, Terry Caldwell (Wilmington, N.C./John T. Hoggard H.S.) and Will Thomas (Hampstead, N.C./Topsail Senior H.S.) played with the East.

   Caldwell was named defensive most valuable player in the game.

   Read more about the game here.

   - Jim Utter


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Rodriguez joins Wilmington Hammerheads

Former 49ers defender Charles Rodriguez has signed with the USL Pro's Wilmington Hammerheads, joining the 49ers' two other senior starters on last season's College Cup runner-up team in the pros.

Midfielder/forward Evan James is with Major League Soccer's Montreal Impact and defender Isaac Cowles is with the USL's Charlotte Eagles.

Rodriguez was drafted by MLS' D.C. United but didn't make the team. He is joined in Wilmington by former 49ers forward Andres Cuero. James was drafted by the Impact, but hasn't played for the first-year MLS team yet. Cowles has seen limited action with the Eagles.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Charlotte 49ers hire football strength coach

Jim Durning, who has experience with some of the country's top FCS and FBS programs, is the 49ers' first football strength and conditioning coach.

Durning has been the strength and conditioning coach at James Madison since 1999. Before that, he was a strength coach at Georgia.

"Jim’s been ultra-successful as a strength coach at James Madison University," 49ers coach Brad Lambert said in a statement. "They’ve been very successful and the strength program plays a huge role in that. It’s the most important room you have in building strength, speed and toughness. The results you have in the weight room are such a big factor in the success you have on the field."

Durning played at Marshall and was captain of the Thundering Herd's 1992 national championship team. He was a graduate assistant at Marshall for two years before going to Georgia and James Madison.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Charlotte 49ers complete football staff

Charlotte 49ers football coach Brad Lambert rounded out his staff with the hires of four assistants Monday.

Drew Dayton (inside linebackers), Damien Gary (running backs), Johnson Richardson (tight ends) and John Russell (secondary assistant) will join Lambert's now 10-man staff. The 49ers will play their first season of football in 2013.

"This group fits in with the staff that's in place from a character standpoint, a recruiting standpoint and how we treat our players," Lambert said in a statement. "We couldn't be more excited about bringing them in. They will bring a great intensity level that will be good for us both on and off the field. The important thing that really came through in the process is that they are really fired up to be here and excited about Charlotte starting football."

Dayton, a former Wake Forest defensive back, has been Duke's defensive quality control coordinator. He was also a graduate assistant for the Blue Devils and was an assistant at Lenoir-Rhyne from 2003-06.

Gary is Georgia's all-time leading punt returner in returns (114) and yards (1,253) and played on the Bulldogs' 2002 Sugar Bowl-winning team. He's been Mars Hill's receivers coach the past two years and was an assistant at Clarke Central (Athens, Ga.) High from 2005-10. He was a college teammate of 49ers assistant Joe Tereshinski when Lambert was an assistant at Georgia.

Richardson, grandson of Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson , is a former Wofford tight end who has been an assistant at Wingate since 2010. He's also a former sideline and equipment assistant for the Panthers.

Russell, a former Wake Forest linebacker, was one of the top linebackers in the ACC and helped the Deacons to the 2006 league championship and a berth in the Orange Bowl. He was a graduate assistant at Duke last season.

The final four assistants join a staff that already includes offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen , defensive coordinator Bruce Tall , offensive line coach Phil Ratliff , secondary coach James Adams , linebackers coach Napolean Sykes and inside receivers coach Tereshinski.