Friday, December 12, 2014

Charlotte 49ers' Parker named 2nd team All-American

Charlotte 49ers junior forward Kyle Parker was named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-American team. Parker, a Hermann Trophy semifinalist who played at Marvin Ridge High, scored nine goals and seven assists this season and was name Conference USA's offensive most valuable player.

Parker, forward Brandt Bronico and defender Biko Bradnock-Brennan made the NSCAA's all-Southeast region first team, while 49ers goalkeeper Austin Pack and midfielder Dominic Bonilla are on the second team.

Charlotte's Kyle Gookins was named the southeast region's assistant coach of the year.

Statement from chancellor Phil Dubois on 49ers baseball hazing investigation

Statement Friday from UNCC chancellor Phil Dubois:

The Universitys investigation into allegations of misconduct involving members of the Charlotte 49ers baseball team has resulted in two more interim suspensions of students, in addition to the three issued on November 14.
Head Baseball Coach Loren Hibbs has dismissed five players from the team for violating team rules, effective immediately. 
Based on what we know today, I have authorized Athletics Director Judy Rose to reinstate baseball activities for the rest of the team, effective immediately.  If any evidence of additional misconduct, as defined by the University Code of Student Responsibility, becomes known, additional measures will be taken.
The University stands firm in its resolve that there is no place for hazing, bullying or misconduct at UNC Charlotte.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by our Student Affairs Division, under the direction of the Office of Legal Affairs.
To ensure student privacy, the University may not legally release further details.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Charlotte 49ers looking to UAB for transfers

Here's a Charlotte 49ers football recruiting update:

-- 49ers coaches -- along with probably every other staff in the country -- have been in Birmingham since the news that Alabama-Birmingham's program was folding. And Charlotte's made some headway: Linebacker Rolan Milligan, the Blazers' second-leading tackler last season with 54, is visiting Charlotte next week. Milligan, who also had four tackles for loss and two sacks, is a 5-11, 185-pound senior from Lake City, Fla. According to, Milligan is also visiting Toledo.

The 49ers are also expecting at least two other former Blazers to visit.

-- Charlotte, which is in need of running backs, got a commitment from one Tuesday: Fairfield (S.C.) Central's Joseph Young. The 49ers came in late on Young, a two-star prospect by, who had offers from schools such as Virginia, Appalachian State and Old Dominion.

Young, 6-1, 197 pounds, ran for 1,367 yards this season. He's the 16th commitment for Charlotte.

The 49ers needed to bring in at least one running back after freshman Maetron Thomas was thrown off the team last month.

-- Charlotte is also getting a visit next week from defensive lineman Zach Befort of Butler (Kan.) Junior College, the same school the 49ers found linebacker Nick Cook and safety Branden Dozier.

-- The Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger is reporting that linebacker Terry Caldwell, who was thrown off Charlotte's team last summer, has signed with Mississippi.

-- Running back Chris Duffy (Porter Ridge High), who originally signed with Charlotte, played last season at Georgia Military College. A 49ers source said Charlotte is no longer interested in Duffy.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Baseball operations temporarily halted, players suspended in hazing investigation

Baseball operations at UNC Charlotte have temporarily stopped and several 49ers players suspended as an investigation into hazing in the baseball program continues.

"We remain in close contact with members of the team and their families and are listening closely to their concerns," UNCC chancellor Phil Dubois said Friday in a statement. "The safety of our students is the foremost priority of the university."

The names of the suspended players weren't released. According to school spokesman Tom Whitestone, baseball operations are defined as player activities such as offseason conditioning, skills instruction and meetings. Coaches are still working.

In a text message to the Observer earlier this week, 49ers coach Loren Hibbs said he could not comment until the investigation is completed.

In Friday's statement, Dubois said the investigation is being conducted outside the athletics department by UNC Charlotte's Student Affairs Division under the direction of the Office of Legal Affairs in accordance with the university's Code of Student Responsibility.

In the student code, hazing is defined as "any activity, intentional or unintentional, by a Student, Student Group, or Student Organization, related to membership in a Student Group or Organization, that endangers the mental, physical, or emotional health of a person, regardless of whether such person has consented to participation in the activity. Any actions that demean, disgrace or embarrass a person may also be considered hazing."

Dubois said more information would be released "as the investigation allows."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Charlotte 49ers vs. Newberry: What to watch for

A few things to look for at Charlotte's men's basketball exhibition Tuesday against Newberry:

Backcourt rotation: The 49ers have loads of backcourt depth, and there will be any number of combinations coach Alan Major can play with. Get used to seeing senior point guard Pierria Henry and Florida-transfer Braxton Ogbueze on the court together. How they mesh will be a factor in how the 49ers' season plays out. This will be their one season together, with Ogbueze poised to take over Henry's role over the next few years. With the losses of Denzel Ingram and Shawn Lester, freshmen Keyshawn Woods and Torin Dorn figure to be part of the equation -- especially Woods, who might make people forget about the loss of Lester pretty quickly.

From long distance: Ingram and Ben Cherry were two of Conference USA's top 3-point shooters last season. At least two players from the guard group will need to fill that void. Henry (31.6 percent) and Terrence Williams (28.1) have never been reliable outside shooters. Ivan Benkovic showed promise two seasons ago, but he's likely going to be rusty after missing last season with a back injury.

Big and small: The 49ers will have the option of going big -- with 6-11 center Mike Thorne, 6-8 power forward Willie Clayton and 6-8 Bernard Sullivan in the front court; or small, with Clayton, Sullivan and perhaps Williams, Henry and Ogbueze in the backcourt. That smaller group is more in tune to Conference USA's style of play. But Thorne, if he continues his development, can be a significant factor for the 49ers in the post.

Last season's worries: Can the 49ers take better care of the ball (they averaged 14.7 turnovers and shoot free throws better (64.8 percent)? Clayton in particular struggled from the line, making 49.4 percent. Major said those issues have been worked on in the offseason. Now it's time to start finding out.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Charlotte 49rs QB Johnson week-to-week

Charlotte 49ers sophomore quarterback Matt Johnson is listed as week-to-week after tearing the medial collateral ligament in his left knee against James Madison on Saturday.

Should Johnson not be ready for the 49ers’ next game Nov. 8 against third-ranked Coastal Carolina, he would be replaced by sophomore Lee McNeill, who completed 18-of-26 passes for 190 yards and an interception after Johnson was hurt.

Johnson has completed 117 of 225 passes for 1,941 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season and is Charlotte’s second-leading rusher with 383 yards and a touchdown.

In other 49ers injury news, coach Brad Lambert said sophomore linebacker Nico Alcalde isn't expected to miss any games after injuring his shoulder against James Madison. Alcalde will likely have surgery on the shoulder after the season, which means he will miss Charlotte's offseason and spring workouts. Alcalde had similar surgery on his other shoulder after last season and also missed winter and spring workouts.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lester leaving Charlotte 49ers to turn pro

Charlotte 49ers junior shooting guard Shawn Lester is leaving the basketball program to pursue a career in professional basketball, the school is announcing Thursday.

Lester, Charlotte’s second-leading scorer last season (11.9 points per game), is in the process of hiring an agent and will look hope to sign with a team overseas.

Lester played just one season at Charlotte out of Mooresville High. He was academically ineligible in 2012-13.

“Although we are saddened that Shawn will not be with us, we are fully supporting him and his family as he makes this transition," 49ers coach Alan Major said in a statement. "We thank him for his efforts, and he will be a Niner for life.”

Lester also averaged 4.2 rebounds in 31 games as Charlotte’s sixth man last season. He had 21 double-figure scoring games and was named to the all-tournament team at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, an event the 49ers won.

"I would like to thank my teammates and coaches for their support,” Lester said.  “This was a very difficult decision for me and my family. After much consideration and talking with my family and coaches, I feel it is in my best interest to begin my professional career."

Lester would have competed for playing time in a crowded 49ers backcourt that includes returning starters Pierria Henry and Terrence Williams, Florida-transfer Braxton Ogbueze, freshmen Keyshawn Woods and Torin Dorn and sophomore Ivan Benkovic.

Lester is the third player from last season’s 49ers team to leave the program prematurely. Guard Denzel Ingram and forward Marcus Bryan both transferred to UNC Wilmington. Two other players, forwards E. Victor Nickerson and Darion Clark, transferred after the 2012-13 season.