Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Lutz to help raise money for cancer cure

Curing Kids' Cancer Inc. announced that it has joined forces with Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte to raise money for pediatric cancer research in the Charlotte region.

To help the cause, Charlotte 49ers men's basketball coach Bobby Lutz has been named an ambassador for Curing Kids' Cancer and will assist in fundraising efforts in the area.

Levine Children's Hospital, set to open in October on the main campus of Carolinas Medical Center, will be promoting both of Curing Kids' Cancer's flagship programs: Coaches Curing Kids' Cancer (CCKC) and Teachers Curing Kids' Cancer.

Each program uses a simple concept - Youth sports teams and individual school classrooms are encouraged to donate the money they would usually raise for presenting their coach or teacher with a gift at the end of the season or school year to help in the fight against pediatric cancer.

Donations to Curing Kids' Cancer fund much-needed pediatric cancer research, and, in return, the participating coach or teacher receives a commemorative certificate and a gift acknowledging their generosity. Details of the programs are available at

"We are thrilled to team up with Levine Children's Hospital, which is setting the standard for pediatric cancer treatment in the Carolinas," said Grainne Owen, founder of Curing Kids' Cancer. "By tapping into Charlotte's successful youth sports programs, we hope to help fund cutting edge cancer treatments at Levine Children's Hospital."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Notes from 49ers' golf win

More from Charlotte golf coach Jamie Green on the 49ers’ win at Sunday’s PING/GolfWeek Preview at Purdue, host of the 2008 NCAA championships:
"This is as elite an event as there is. That being said, once you’re here, everbody’s tied. Everybody has the same opportunity. To be able to test yourselves against this field and come away with a win. It’s a good time to have a win. Against this field, on this golf course – that’s what you practice for. It’s as elite as it gets and we will play in some other events that have similar fields in the spring, that are based on your success, and those will be elite events as well.
"Everybody’s good enough to know they can make a birdie on any hole they play. I think there was an excitement level that this team has grown accustomed to. There’s something about the personality and how they approach it that is pretty special.
"It was really a challenging golf course (note the high scores of many opponents). The golf course doesn’t lend itself to easy birdies. You’ve really got to hit good shots and be consistent, and to get off to that fast start was really a confidence builder."
On medalist Stefan Wiedergruen: "He shoots 30 on the front nine and doesn’t two-putt a green until No. 9. Through 10 holes, he had 11 putts. Anytime you do that, you’re going to shoot pretty a pretty good number."
On Jonas Enander Hedin finishing second: "Can’t say enough about Jonas. He goes up against two of the best players in the country, who are coming back from Walker Cup play and he goes toe-to-toe with them, and the only guy that beats him is a teammate who catches him from behind. It’s such a good golf course. It says a lot about Stefan’s and Jonas’ performances and what type of players they are to finish 1-2 and shoot under par in all three rounds."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

49ers golfers ranked 9th in poll

The Charlotte 49ers golf team, which won its season-opening tournament at the Scenic City Invitational, has moved up to a program-best #9 ranking in the Sept. 21 GolfWorld/NIKE Golf Coaches’ poll, heading into this weekend’s prestigious PING/GolfWeek Preview in West Lafayette, Ind.

The 49ers received one first-place vote in the latest poll, which is the first-ever first-place vote for the program.

The PING/GolfWeek Preview is played annually in the fall at the site of the coming spring’s NCAA Championship. Teams are extended invitations based on their performance the previous season. The 49ers, who finished third at the 2007 NCAA Championships and were ranked 10th in GolfWorld’s preseason poll, are competing in the event for the first time.

The 15-team field includes six teams in the top 10 of the latest Coaches’ Poll and 13 Top 25 teams. The other two teams, including host Purdue, are receiving votes towards the Top 25 poll. will provide live streaming of the tournament, with Lance Ringler and Jay Coffin calling the action from the 18th hole during the final round. Live scoring will be available at

The 49ers lineup this weekend will include current A-10 Player of the Week Corey Nagy (Charlotte/Vance High), a sophomore who took medalist honors at last week’s Scenic City Invitational. Junior Stefan Wiedergruen (Waiblingen, Germany), who finished second at the Scenic City Invitational with a career-best -7, 206, and seniors Jonas Enander Hedin (Taby, Sweden), Trevor Murphy (St. Johnsbury, Vt.) and Andrew DiBitetto (Rochester, N.Y.) will fill out the lineup.

Enander Hedin posted the 49ers low stroke average last season. Murphy reached the round of 32 at the 2007 US Amateur and DiBitetto placed ninth at the 2007 NCAA Championships to earn honorable mention GCAA all-America honors. DiBitetto and Nagy were both among GolfWorld’s Top 50 “Players to Watch” for 2007-08.

The GolfWorld/Nike Preseason Coaches’ Poll marked the 49ers first top 10 ranking and this week’s #9 listing is the highest ever for the 49ers’ golf program.

The 49ers, who have won back-to-back Atlantic 10 Championships, have competed in the NCAA Tournament each of the past three years and advanced to the NCAA Championships each of the past two. Charlotte finished third at the NCAA Championships in 2007, matching the best-ever finish by a 49ers sports program. They finished 22nd in 2006.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Prep star Davila passing on Niners

Although there is still time for him to change his mind, it looks like standout prep star Victor Davila has decided to pass on joining the Charlotte 49ers and appears primed to commit to Virginia Tech.

Davila, a 6-foot-9, 225-pound center who plays at Boonville Starmount High, is expected to cancel his official visit to Charlotte scheduled for next weekend and could announce a verbal commitment to the Hokies any day, several sources said Thursday night.

Davila, ranked No. 136 in's list of the top 150 recruits in the 2008 class, recently narrowed his college choices to Virginia Tech, Charlotte, Wake Forest and Clemson.

Last season, Davila averaged 20.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 3.3 blocks per game at Starmount. He made an unofficial visit to the Charlotte campus last winter.

In other recruiting news, the 49ers are keeping a close eye on Charlotte Latin junior David Chadwick Jr., a 6-9 center who has started gaining interest nationally. Chadwick's father, David Chadwick Sr., played college basketball at North Carolina.

Among the other schools expressing interest in Chadwick are Davidson, Clemson and Virginia Tech. Charlotte already has one Latin grad on its roster, redshirt freshman Charles Dewhurst who sat out last season with a high ankle sprain.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Niners women's hoops schedule

The Charlotte 49ers women’s basketball team will again face another challenging schedule which features eleven postseason teams from last season. The 49ers return nine letterwinners off their 2007 team which reached postseason play for a school-record fifth straight season.

“We have a very challenging schedule,” Charlotte coach Karen Aston, who is entering her first season at the helm of the 49ers women’s basketball program. “Right out of the gate we open on the road with three games in three days against possibly two ranked opponents. The teams we play in the non-conference portion of our schedule will definitely prepare us for the Atlantic 10 schedule. We have to play Dayton, an improved Duquesne team, George Washington, Temple and Xavier on the road in Atlantic 10 play this season. We have an attractive schedule that hopefully will aide us in a potential postseason bid. Every team in our league is trying to gain respect and the way you do that is play teams that are ranked and in conferences with high RPIs. You hope you can beat some of them and establish respect.”

Last season, the 49ers went 19-13 en route to a school-record fifth straight postseason appearance and a berth in the second round of the WNIT.

The 49ers schedule not only features 11 postseason teams from a year ago but it also features 11 teams that were ranked in the Top 80 of the Final RPI.

This season, Charlotte will play 15 games in Halton Arena, where the 49ers are an impressive 68-12 over the past six seasons.

The 49ers’ home non-conference schedule features ACC foes Clemson and Virginia Tech, Big Ten foe Minnesota, 2007 WNIT participant Davidson and regional foe Winthrop. The 49ers also host a holiday tournament which features 2007 NCAA Tournament participant UT-Arlington along with regional foes Charleston Southern and Elon.

The non-conference road schedule begins with the WBCA Classic at Penn State over the first weekend of the season. The 49ers take on 2007 NCAA Tournament participant Pittsburgh as well as Arizona and Penn State at the WBCA Classic. The 49ers battle ACC foe Wake Forest and Old Dominion, who has played in 24 of the 26 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournaments, and former Conference USA foe and 2007 WNIT participant UAB on the road.

In January, the 49ers begin the Atlantic 10 season which is a grueling 14-game schedule. Last season, the 49ers went 9-5 in a league that sent five teams to postseason play. The 49ers begin A-10 play on the road at Duquesne, January 12. The 49ers host 2007 WNIT participant Saint Joseph’s, February 14. Charlotte travels to 2007 NCAA Tournament participants George Washington, January 26, Temple, February 6 and Xavier, February 17. Charlotte concludes the regular season at home against Richmond on the first weekend in March.

The season culminates with the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament which will be played at Saint Joseph’s Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse, March 7-10.

2007-08 Charlotte 49ers
Women’s Basketball Schedule

9-11 at WBCA Classic
9 vs. Pittsburgh
10 at Penn State
11 vs. Arizona
15 at Wake Forest
18 at Old Dominion
28 at UNC Greensboro

5 at UAB
20 UT-Arlington vs. Elon
21 Elon-Charleston Southern
30 at Arkansas State

12 at Duquesne*
22 at Dayton*
26 at George Washington*

2 at Saint Louis*
6 at Temple*
17 at Xavier* (CSTV)
27 at FORDHAM*

7-10 at Atlantic 10 Championships in Philadelphia
*- Atlantic 10 Conference games; Home games in CAPS and bold

Friday, September 7, 2007

Niners hoops workout impressive

Charlotte 49ers men's basketball coach Bobby Lutz was kind enough to allow me to sit in on individual workouts with his team earlier this week.
Associate head coach Rob Moxley and assistant coaches Bobby Kummer and Chris Cheeks ran through three different sessions on Thursday -- one for point guards, one for shooters and one for post players. The only players absent were center Phil Jones and forward Charles Dewhurst, who were both nursing injuries.
In the point guard session, senior Leemire Goldwire and incoming sophomore DiJuan Harris seemed to push each other hard. Goldwire looked more comfortable with his shot than he was over the summer. Harris, a planned walk-on who was recently awarded a scholarship, should offer a good contrast with sophomore transfer Michael Gerrity, who won't be eligible until mid-December. Harris is quick and likes to shoot, while Gerrity is a gritty guard who likes to penetrate and pitch.
Senior Sean Phaler and sophomore Ian Andersen teamed up to face off against freshman Javarris Barnett and sophomore walk-on Kyle Church during the shooters session, with the Phaler/Andersen duo coming out on top. Barnett has an odd-looking shot but lots of confidence. Andersen comes in this season in better shape and is still one of hardest-working players on the team.
The post players session was the most interesting because it was my first in-person look at junior college transfers Lamont Mack and Charlie Coley. Coley was everything everyone had said -- lightning quick, athletic, all over the court. He had a nasty follow dunk off a missed shot which drew lots of attention.
Mack, who had knee surgery over the summer, is about 20 pounds over his usual playing weight, but still looked solid under the basket. Coley and freshman An'Juan Wilderness look impressive on fast breaks. The 49ers should have plenty of offensive options to finish plays. This is way early, but I predict freshman Gaby Ngoundjo will soon contend for the Atlantic 10 all-defensive team.

--- Jim Utter

Monday, September 3, 2007

ASU upset a lesson to football skeptics

There are many positives to take out of Appalachian State’s college football upset of fifth-ranked Michigan on Saturday.
Here’s another: The game should serve as both a rallying cry and reminder that there is no excuse UNC Charlotte shouldn’t add football as soon as possible.
Imagine – dream if you will – opening up Sunday’s Observer and reading all the stories written about ASU’s upset and replacing the word "ASU" with "UNC Charlotte" or "Mountaineers" with "49ers." Think about everything this win does for Appalachian State – the school and the athletics department.
Think it couldn’t do the same to Charlotte? Think again.
There has been one glaring omission from the debate about whether Charlotte should add football and that is trying to quantify the intangibles of such a move. There are many well-paid and highly touted economists and financial experts who will offer their opinions as to whether the 49ers fan base and the Charlotte region can sustain a NCAA Division I football team.
What those very well-meaning people cannot measure is the loyalty, the excitement, the school spirit such Saturday afternoon football weekends bring. Ask fans of North Carolina, Clemson and South Carolina what it’s like at their respective football games each fall weekend, and you will get descriptions that go far beyond a sum of plays and description of good 40-yard-line seats.
It’s an atmosphere – one that cannot be easily replicated in a 100-page study. In such cases, the best evidence to discern the effect is to look at the visual evidence that surrounds you.
Davidson plays football, but likely will never get a chance to win a national championship because of the level the Wildcats choose to play. Ask students and alumni if it should be disbanded.
Ask Clemson fans if they would trade Saturdays at Death Valley for an ACC basketball championship. I think I know the answer. Do you?
Skeptics said Appalachian State would never – could never – beat Michigan in the "Big House."
We know the Mountaineers did.
Skeptics say Charlotte 49ers fans won’t support football. They say it can’t be done. They say nobody cares.
Give them reason to be wrong again.
Show them constant vigilance.