Thursday, December 30, 2010

3 things to like, 3 to dislike about Mercer win

MACON, Ga. -- Three things I liked about the 49ers' 64-63 victory against Mercer on Thursday, Charlotte's third straight:

-- This is the kind of game Charlotte would have lost a month ago. The 49ers have discovered what it takes to win close games at the end (Wright State, Tennessee included). With Atlantic 10 play looming, that's a trait that will serve the 49ers well as the season progresses.

-- The 49ers found their shooting stroke, hitting a season-high 54.3 percent of their shots. Javarris Barnett was seven-of-nine, An'Juan Wilderness and Chris Braswell each three-of-four and Phil Jones four-of-seven. Only the guards, Derrio Green and Deuce Briscoe, struggled some, going a combined eight of 20. You get the sense though, that Green is rediscovering his touch.

-- The 49ers won with Briscoe having an off game. He was three of nine, missed all three of his 3-pointers, had more turnovers than assists (6 to 5) and missed much of the latter stages due to foul trouble.

Three things I didn't like:

-- Not only were those 22 turnovers a season high, but several were unforced. Green dribbled the ball off his foot -- under no pressure -- with Charlotte clinging to a 61-60 lead with 2:10 left.

-- Only six offensive rebounds. Enough said ...

-- ... But I'll say more. The game was made closer than it should have been when Mercer's Brian Mills slipped around Charlotte defenders and scored after a missed free throw with 18 seconds left. That cut the lead to 64-63. Never should have been that close had the 49ers been fundamentally sound there.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

49ers set for 'Georgia Invitational'

49ers coach Alan Major has dubbed these next two games as the "Georgia Invitational." Charlotte plays Thursday at Mercer in Macon, Ga., and then Sunday at Georgia Tech.

Major came up with the name while flying home to Indianapolis for a few days at Christmas. "I guess that's what you do when you've got a little time on your hands," said Major.

Actually, Major wants his team to be in the mindset that it's in a mini-tournament (double elimination, apparently), with travel and hostile crowds involved, too.

Mercer is just 3-8, but had Georgia on the ropes recently, blowing an 11-point second half lead and losing 56-53.

This might not be a tournament, but it is a round robin. Mercer plays at Georgia Tech on Friday.

Remember, the Mercer-Charlotte game is at 2 p.m. I'll be on Twitter with updates throughout at @davidscott14.


-- 49ers freshman guard Luka Voncina won’t be with the team Thursday or for Sunday’s game at Georgia Tech. He’s spending the holiday break at home in Slovenia, where – folks in the 49ers athletics department hope – he will bring back some answers about why his high school transcript isn’t being accepted by the NCAA. Until that happens, Voncina will continue to be ineligible.

-- The 49ers are making 73.4 percent of their free throws, tops in the Atlantic 10. They’re also third in the league in 3-point defense (28.5 percent), fourth in 3s made per game (7.2) and fifth in defensive rebounding (26.1).

-- Charlotte has held five its last six opponents to 65 or fewer points.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

49ers finding an identity

However this basketball season turns out, it's now becoming easier and easier to see how coach Alan Major is putting his stamp on the 49ers' basketball program.

It took 10 games to do it, but the 49ers have found their identity: They're a tough, make-no-excuses bunch that, at least for the time being, is doing whatever it takes to win.

As guard Derrio Green, whose 3-pointer gave the 49ers their winning points in a 57-53 victory against Wright State on Wednesday, put it: “...We fight every night. We do it in practice. We beat each other up. Before, we would lay down. But now we’ve drawn the line.”

This two-game winning streak is just that, a modest bit of success in the middle of a long season. But how the 49ers have won recently, especially given the tumultuous beginning of the season (the Shamari Spears drama, injuries, Luka Voncina's continuing eligibility problems), has given them something to hang on to.

Charlotte locked down Wright State in the second half with a tough zone defense, one that Raiders coach Billy Donlon said had as much to do with the 49ers' physical style as anything. They played through another night of long minutes by the starters.

Ten days ago, that kind of second-half performance wasn't there in a loss at Davidson. Maybe the 49ers had accepted their perceived shortcomings at that time. Or maybe they were still getting accustomed to how Major wants to play and what it will take for them to compete.

Wright State's Donlon, though, might have said it best when he talked about the 49ers' comeback against his Raiders: "That's the sign of something being built."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sherrill gives frontcourt a different look

-- With K.J. Sherrill back, coach Alan Major described what kind of front court the 49ers have now.
With starting forward Shamari Spears kicked off the team, Charlotte’s front line was composed mainly of 6-8 forward Chris Braswell and 6-11 backup center Phil Jones. Undersized Javarris Barnett (6-7) and An’Juan Wilderness (6-6) were being asked to guard bigger players.

“He gives us another body in the post,” said Major. “Phil is your big, mass body. ‘Braz’ is our jack-of-all-trades, passing it, handling it and scoring around the rim. K.J. brings energy. He’s bouncing around there, flying around. He makes you feel good because he’s so active.”

-- The 49ers will briefly break for Christmas after Wednesday's game against Wright State. They return to campus Sunday to prepare for a five-day road trip in Georgia next week: at Mercer on Dec. 30 and at Georgia Tech on Jan. 2. The Yellow Jackets game is at 6 p.m., the same afternoon the Carolina Panthers play the Atlanta Falcons a few miles across town at the Georgia Dome at 1 p.m.

-- Halton Arena is the site of a day-night doubleheader Wednesday: Charlotte’s women play Maryland-Eastern Shore at noon (admission is free) and the men’s game against Wright State is free to kids 17 and under.

-- Major said the reason Braswell didn’t start against Tennessee was for a minor rules violation. He’ll be back in the starting lineup tonight ahead of Jones.

-- One final note from Major on the Tennessee victory: “Probably the most rewarding thing was for the guys to see that they’re capable of more than they think. I’m not saying we thought we were going to lose, but if you do things -- scouting, practicing hard, watching film, doing the day-to-day work, then you can earn your way into playing well.”

-- Quick baseball note: The signature trees that line the outfield outside Phillips Field are being replaced this week. The old ones -- which gave the stadium an intimate atmosphere -- were diseased. The new ones are much smaller, but they'll grow back -- sometime.

Monday, December 20, 2010

49ers' Tyler A-10 women's rookie of week

Charlotte's Gabby Tyler is the Atlantic 10 women's basketball rookie of the week.

Tyler, a freshman forward from Emporia, Va., scored 13 points and had seven rebounds in a 62-44 victory at Arkansas State on Sunday. Tyler was six-for-six from the field.

She's averaging 7.0 points per game and 4.1 rebounds and has 14 blocked shots this season, second on the team.

The 49ers (9-2) play Maryland-Eastern Shore on Wednesday at noon at Halton Arena.

-- Charlotte's baseball team is one of several "others receiving votes" in Collegiate Baseball magainze's preseason rankings.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tennessee triumph a chance for momentum

Next up: Wright State. At Halton Arena. Next Wednesday with Charlotte's students on Christmas break.

Sorry for the buzzkill, but that's what's facing the 49ers after their scintillating and, frankly, inspiring 49-48 victory Friday against No. 7 Tennessee at Time Warner Cable Arena.

The atmosphere next Wednesday won't be anything like it was Friday. There won't be 8,419 fans at Halton (I'd love to be proven wrong, Niner Nation!) and the juices won't be flowing like they were against Tennessee.

But that's also what makes it a huge test for the 49ers, who now have the chance for some much-needed momentum as their Atlantic 10 season approaches three games hence. All three of those games -- Wright State, at Mercer on Dec. 30 and at Georgia Tech on Jan. 2 -- now appear to be quite winnable (even Georgia Tech of the unimposing ACC).

Beating Tennessee doesn't mean Charlotte is suddenly an A-10 contender, there are still too many holes to fill in what remains a depth-shy lineup. But Charlotte is going to need to win games like the one it's facing Wednesday against Wright State, which is 6-5 heading into a game Saturday against Miami (Ohio).

But the way Charlotte stood up to Tennessee in the second half -- when they've faltered several times this season already -- might mean the start of something good (as does the return of K.J. Sherrill). And of course, there's the question that can't be answered but is worth pondering nonetheless: Would Charlotte have won with Shamari Spears in the lineup?

"It's so hard to get the general public to understand what these guys go through," said coach Alan Major. "Sometimes it's hard to deal with expectations. Sometimes it's hard to remember that these are kids. But to understand what it takes to play at a high level and sustain it, that's what I'm most proud of. They played a full 40 minutes together."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Spears can keep scholarship

A few 49ers notes and thoughts:

-- Shamari Spears, who was thrown off the basketball team Tuesday, can keep his scholarship at Charlotte through the end of the 2010-11 school year. Whether he remains in school isn't known, but he's not going to eligible to play elsewhere. Athletes have five years to play four seasons, and this was Spears' fifth year (he played two seasons at Boston College and sat out one season at Charlotte per NCAA rules). Spears technically competed for his fourth and final season when he stepped on the court against S.C. State in November. He wouldn't qualify for any "hardship" redshirt status going forward.

-- I'm told that guard Luka Voncina -- who hasn't played this season because of eligibility issues -- is going home to Slovenia over the holidays and will try to get his credits issues with Charlotte straightened out with his high school there. He's got to do that before the NCAA will look at his case, so don't expect any kind of resolution soon.

-- K.J. Sherrill (knee) continues to practice with the team, but a decision whether he'll play Friday against Tennessee hasn't been made. He's got to practice in "contact" drills before coach Alan Major will allow him to play.

-- Elijah Carter, a point guard from Brewster (N.H.) Academy who's being recruited by the 49ers, has predictably expanded his list of potential colleges since not signing early in November. His coach, Jason Smith, says Carter is now also considering -- among others -- Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Oregon State, Butler and South Florida.

-- Spears' sister, Olivia Rankin of Salisbury High, is one of the 49ers' women's basketball team's recruits for next season. A spokesperson for the women's basketball team says Rankin's brother's suspension isn't expected to affect her decision to attend Charlotte.

-- Quick baseball note: Charlotte senior reliever Bryan Hamilton has been named a third-team preseason All-American by the Pro-Line Athletic National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Hamilton was 4-0 with two saves and a 2.01 ERA last season.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Spears dismissed from team

Shamari Spears has been dismissed from the 49ers' basketball team.

Spears, a senior forward who was suspended indefinitely before Charlotte's game against Radford, was a third-team all-Atlantic 10 player last season. He was averaging 17.0 points and 3.2 rebounds through five games this season.

"After much consideration, it is the decision of our coaching staff that Shamari Spears and our team part ways at this time," said coach Alan Major in a statement. "We want to wish him the best in his future endeavors and we will continue to move forward as a team. In those efforts to move forward, no further comments will be made regarding this matter."

Spears, a Salisbury native who transferred to Charlotte from Boston College in 2009, apparently was having difficulty adjusting to Major, who is in his first season as Charlotte's coach. He indicated in his Twitter account during the preseason that he missed former coach Bobby Lutz and missed a preseason practice while his father was visiting from out of town that was described at the time by Major as a "misunderstanding."

Spears also was suspended by Major for Charlotte's season opener against Gardner-Webb and for the first game of last season by Lutz.

Against Oregon State in the last game Spears played for the 49ers, he played just two minutes in the second half despite not being in foul trouble.

The 49ers (4-6) play seventh-ranked Tennessee on Friday at Time Warner Cable Arena.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

49ers' frustrations deepen

Charlotte had five players play 28 minutes or more in the 49ers' 82-68 loss against Davidson on Saturday. The long minutes are starting to take their toll.

“It’s obvious,” said point guard Jamar Briscoe, who played 35 minutes with a sore Achilles. “We’re hitting a wall defensively after 25 or 30 minutes every game. It’s tough, because you want high energy in practice and to be that intense in games. But it’s hard to balance that. Even though we’re only playing seven or eight guys, we’ve got to get through it. We’ve got to find a way.”

Davidson coach Bob McKillop said the game plan was to try and wear the 49ers down. Davidson played 10 guys, eight of whom played 10-plus minutes.

-- Coach Alan Major didn't know if forward K.J. Sherrill will be back from a knee injury in time for next Friday's game against No. 11 Tennessee at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Volunteers will be ranked higher than that by game time, incidentally, since they upset No. 3 Pitt on Saturday. Sherrill has been practicing lightly recently, but hasn't been in any contact practices and Major won't play him until that happens.

-- Major has at least kept his sense of humor about the injures that continue to plague his team. Of Charles Dewhurst, who hurt his knee in preseason then broke his finger earlier this week in practice after he had been cleared to play, Major said: 
"The next time he's ready to go, I'm going to lock him in a room with security guards and hound dogs and bolt him to a table. He's going to make sure he looks both ways when he crosses the street on campus."

-- Since it's been three years since Charlotte and Davidson last played, most players on both teams were getting their first taste of the rivalry. Davidson's JP Kuhlman said he was impressed with how many 49ers fans (appeared to be several hundred tucked in an upper corner of Belk Arena).

-- Briscoe continues to be bothered by the sore Achilles, which he says he hurt Tuesday against Winthrop by coming down awkwardly on it when he made a long pass to An'Juan Wilderness.

"It's a mental thing," said Briscoe, who wore a protective boot on his foot until game time. "It did bother me, but it didn't hinder me from doing stuff. I try not to think about it, because I made up my mind that I was going to play."

Friday, December 10, 2010

Briscoe prognosis shifts to "optimistic" for Davidson

Point guard Jamar Briscoe, who hurt his Achilles tendon against Winthrop on Tuesday, missed practice again Friday but the team is "optimistic" he'll play Saturday at Davidson.

Briscoe, who remains in a walking boot, was listed as "questionable" for Davidson on Thursday.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Briscoe questionable for Davidson with sore Achilles

In yet another piece of bad injury news, Charlotte point guard Jamar Briscoe has a sore Achilles tendon and is "questionable" for Saturday's game at Davidson, according to a school spokesman.

Briscoe was in a walking boot today.

If Briscoe doesn't play, the point guard duties would shift to shooting guard Derrio Green. Shooting guard responsibilities would go to Sirin Gokhan and walk-on Colby Lewis.

Charlotte already has lost guard Charles Dewhurst for four weeks with a broken finger. Forward K.J. Sherrill should be back in a few weeks from a knee injury. Forward Shamari Spears (suspension) and guard Luka Voncina (eligibility issues) are also out.

Green finding new ways to score

49ers guard Derrio Green's shooting slump continues this season, but he's been trying to different things on the floor to shake himself out of it.

But Green also wasn't a great shooter for Charlotte last season, his first with the 49ers after transferring from Gulf Coast (Fla.) Community College.

Green is making 30.6 percent of his shots (25.8 from 3-point range), down significantly from his 36.5 percent mark (31.3 from 3) last season. He's averaging 11.9 points this season after averaging 13.1 as a sophomore.

Green has been mixing up his game, driving to the basket a lot and getting to the foul line 4.5 times per game (up from 3.1 last season). Green was 2 for 10 (1 for 5 from 3-point ranger) and went to the line six times in a victory against Winthrop on Tuesday.

"When people know you're not just a catch and shoot guy, the other team can put that on the scouting report that you're not in the category of just a shooter," 49ers coach Alan Major said. "We do this with all our players, but we want to find out what Derrio's strength is and expand it.

"We'd like to make him more of a complete guard, where he can handle the ball, pull up, play mid-range, pass, drive and kick as well. That's in addition to him making open shots, which is his strength. He's done a nice job of embracing what we're asking him to do. If he can get to the (foul) line six times a game, I'd be happy with that."

With Charlotte's depth problems in the backcourt, Green is averaging 36.7 minutes per game, seventh most in the Atlantic 10 (point guard Jamar Briscoe's 35.9 are eighth most in the league). He plays the point when Briscoe is out of the game.

"(Green) has logged a lot of minutes in a short period of time," said Major. "To his credit, he's battled."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Major: 'Something special's going to happen'

With four players (including two walk-ons) on the bench, Charlotte beat Winthrop 68-57 Tuesday. Charles Dewhurst's broken finger was the latest dose of bad news for the 49ers pregame, but their resiliency against the Eagles gave coach Alan Major lots of hope: “I don’t know when it will happen, but it will happen and I keep believing it. Something special is going to happen with this group. I don’t know what that means. But if we keep going, keep fighting and don’t crack, the game honors that. If you do things right – even if you don’t win every game -- the game will find ways to take care of you.”
-- The 49ers sure didn't look good against a full-court press the Eagles threw at them during the second half of the 68-57 victory. Charlotte, which had just three turnovers in the first half, turned it over 10 times in the second half as a 42-18 halftime lead dissolved to just a six-point margin with under 3 minutes remaining.
Major's take: "We got ahead of ourselves a little bit. We always want to make sure we keep a buddy system in the backcourt and one guy was back there by himself. But we got it straightened out."

-- The 49ers shot 64.3 percent in the first half and 18.2 percent in the second half (making just 4 of 22 shots).

-- Winthrop's Reggie Middleton said his team knew the 49ers are shorthanded and wanted to tire them out. East Carolina's players said the same thing about Charlotte last week. Derrio Green admitted he was tired after the game. He's still struggling with his shot, going 2 for 10. But he's also going to the basket a lot, which is a good way to bust out of a slump.

-- Javarris Barnett, who's getting lots of playing time with Shamari Spears suspended, didn't score but had six rebounds, five on the defensive end. Phil Jones continues to rebound well, getting eight.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dewhurst breaks finger -- out again

Charles Dewhurst's lousy luck continues.

Hours after it was announced he would probably play for the first time this season Tuesday against Winthrop, Dewhurst broke his finger Monday and is out for an indefinite period of time.

Dewhurst, who had been practicing since Friday after injuring his knee in October, broke his left index finger Monday afternoon in practice. He was to see doctors later tonight or Tuesday, when it will probably be announced what Dewhurst's prognosis is.

Dewhurst, who played at Charlotte Latin, announced after last season that he would forego his senior season, but changed his mind over the summer. He's had injury problems for much of his career at Charlotte.

Dewhurst 'probable' for Winthrop

Charlotte's depth problems in the backcourt might be alleviated some Tuesday against Winthrop with the return of Charles Dewhurst, who is listed as "probable" after missing the first eight games of the season with an injured knee.

Dewhurst, who came back for his senior season after initially deciding to pass up his final year of eligibility, would provide sorely needed depth at the guard spot. He's been practicing with the team since Friday. Gokhan Sirin and walk-on Colby Lewis have been spelling point guard Deuce Briscoe and 2-guard Derrio Green, who are both among the Atlantic 10 leaders in minutes played.

Forward K.J. Sherrill, who also hurt his knee in the preseason, might be back in two weeks, if his recovery continues at the same pace it's been going.

Also, although the 49ers aren't saying anything about the status of the suspended Shamari Spears, he wasn't at practice Monday, meaning it's virtually certain he won't play against Winthrop.

-- Fans are asked to bring an unwrapped toy to tonight's game for the Toys For Tots campaign.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

'Let Me Play' raises more than $90,000

The 49ers Athletic Foundation's "Let Me Play Luncheon" raised more than $90,000 for the school's women's athletic programs.

The money was raised at November's "Let Me Play" luncheon and surpassed a goal of $75,000.

“I’m overwhelmed by the support,” said 49ers athletics director Judy Rose in a statement. “We continue to benefit from the generosity of this community and it is due to this great support that we have been able to institute important enhancements to our program. As for this event, in particular, I am thrilled to see the number and variety of people who see the importance that athletics can play in the development of young women.”

More on the "Let Me Play" luncheon, from 49ers sports information:

Charlotte’s first ladies: Samara Foxx and Lisa Lewis Dubois served as co-chairs for the 2010 Let Me Play Luncheon, which was sponsored by Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Presbyterian Hospital, OrthoCarolina and UNC Charlotte.

Over 300 people attended the Nov. 16 luncheon, held at the Charlotte Convention Center. Amy Vance, Chief Operating Officer of Presbyterian Hospital served as the keynote speaker. Among those in attendance were past chairs Dale Halton, Betty Chafin Rash, Pat Rodgers and Mary Lou Babb as well as university Chancellor Dr. Philip Dubois, 49ers women’s basketball coach Karen Aston, Charlotte Bobcats head coach Larry Brown and the full contingent of coaches from the 49ers women’s teams. In addition, the 49ers welcomed several former 49ers student-athletes to the event.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Former 49er Trevin Parks gets CIAA honor

Guard Trevin Parks, who transferred from Charlotte to Johnson C. Smith during the offseason, was recently named the CIAA's newcomer of the week.

Parks, who got little playing time with the 49ers last season as a freshman, is the Golden Bulls' second-leading scorer, averaging 12.8 points per game and 4.0 assists.

With the 49ers' lack of depth in the backcourt, they might have been able to use Parks this season. Until Charles Dewhurst comes back from a knee injury and when/if Luka Voncina is declared eligible by the NCAA, Charlotte's only options off the bench are Gokhan Sirin and walk-on Colby Lewis.

Pry resigns as golf coach

Adam Pry has resigned as Charlotte's golf coach for personal reasons.

Pry, who will be reassigned temporarily within the athletic department, joined Charlotte in 2008 and took over the head coaching job in 2009, replacing Jamie Green.

Assistant coach Andrew DiBitetto was named the team's interim coach and will guide the team through the end of the 2011 season.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A view from the outside

-- East Carolina coach Jeff Lebo had an interesting take on the 49ers after his team's 62-61 victory against Charlotte on Wednesday:

"They're a program that -- if you take the ACC out of (it) -- has been very consistent. They win 20 games. They're the talk of the state outside the ACC," said Lebo. "(Beating them) gives us some respect."

If that means the 49ers have a target on their backs when they play other in-state rivals (non-ACC, if following Lebo's point), new Charlotte coach Alan Major hasn't noticed it yet. Charlotte has already played Carolinas teams including Gardner-Webb, S.C. State, Coastal Carolina and East Carolina twice. Charlotte also used to be in Conference USA with East Carolina.

"Maybe I  I haven't been here long enough," said Major "Some of that may be because of last season (when Charlotte won 19 games), but a lot probably goes back to days of being in the same conference. A lot of times rivalries spill over when you're not in the same league anymore. So you can see how that sentiment could still be there, because it sounds like there were some pretty good games in the past between both schools.

"A lot of schools you recruit against too. So when you win one of those battles, it can give you something to talk about when you're recruiting."

-- Both teams took good care of the ball Wednesday. Charlotte had just six turnovers and East Carolina had seven.

-- Although Charlotte had just four players on the bench because of Shamari Spears suspension, injuries and eligibility issues, the 49ers' subs still outscored East Carolina's 25-22. Center Phil Jones had 14 points and guard Gokhan Sirin added 11. Sirin's 3 pointer gave the 49ers what were nearly their winning points with 14.1 seconds left.

-- Sirin played 21 minutes, which allowed the starting backcourt of Jamar Briscoe and Derrio Green to get some rest. Briscoe and Green were both averaging 37 minutes entering the game, but played 32 and 33 minutes, respectively, against the Pirates. Briscoe played an excellent floor game (six assists, no turnovers), but was just three-of-13 shooting.


East Carolina pre-game observations

A few thoughts before hitting the road for Greenville for tonight's 49ers game against East Carolina...

-- With Shamari Spears out again tonight (nothing official yet, but don't count on it because he didn't practice Monday), we'll see if the 49ers interior offense runs as smoothly as it did against Radford. Chris Braswell and Phil Jones seemed to have more room to operate down low in Spears' absence.  Jones' 7 for 7 game against Radford, included the most field goals without a miss for a 49er since An'Juan Wilderness went 8 for 8 against Richmond in 2008.

-- The 49ers are shooting well from 3-point range lately (45% against Oregon State, 40% against Radford). East Carolina allows opponents make less than 25% of their 3-pointers. Charlotte was 6 of 18 (33%) against the Pirates in Charleston.

-- Shamarr Bowden, who played at Charlotte as a freshman last season, will play at East Carolina next season. He's at Chipola (Fla.) Junior College this season.

-- Dave Odom, dad of 49ers assistant Ryan Odom, was head coach at East Carolina from 1979-82.

-- Pirates point guard Brock Young hurt his knee in the offseason and is just now working his way back into shape. Young, a preseason all-Conference USA pick, wasn't much of a factor in Charlotte's victory against the Pirates in Charleston (six points in 22 minutes). He dished his 500th career assist on Saturday against UNC Greensboro.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thoughts on Spears suspension

Saturday's news that Shamari Spears has been suspended for the third time in his short Charlotte 49ers career wasn't totally surprising.

Spears had let the world know through his Twitter account that he was close to quitting the team after Wednesday's loss at Oregon State (a game in which he played just two minutes in the second half despite not being in foul trouble). He indicated in a tweet in the preseason that he wished former coach Bobby Lutz were still around.

There was at least one other incident in the preseason when Spears missed a practice when his father was visiting from out of town. New coach Alan Major said at the time that it was a misunderstanding and appeared willing -- at least publicly -- to cut Spears some slack.

But this isn't exactly the kind of vibe that a new coach like Major wants from a player -- whether he's the team's star (as Spears supposedly is) or the last guy on the bench.

So it's not surprising that Major suspended Spears. He's the new guy and it's his program. Agree or not with how Major has coached the team on its way to a pretty shaky 3-4 start, but understand that there's no way he can let a player continue to undermine him, especially in such a public way.

Spears wasn't on the bench Saturday against Radford (as he was when he sat out the first game of the season against Gardner-Webb). Major also wouldn't say if Spears will be back Wednesday against East Carolina.

But don't bet on him making the trip to Greenville. And beyond that, who knows?

49ers' Spears suspended indefinitely

Charlotte senior forward Shamari Spears has been suspended indefinitely for an undisclosed violation of team rules, a team spokesman announced about 30 minutes before the 49ers are to play Radford tonight in Halton Arena.

It's the second time this season Spears has been suspended. He missed the 49ers' first game, a loss to Gardner-Webb. He also was suspended for Charlotte's first game of the 2009-10 season. Last season was his first with Charlotte after transferring from Boston College.

Spears, a 6-6 forward from Salisbury, was a second-team all-Atlantic 10 selection last season. He was averaging 17.0 points and 3.2 rebounds this season.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

N.C. Central added to football schedules

The 49ers have added N.C. Central to their first two football schedules.

Charlotte will play the Eagles at home on Sept. 14, 2013 and in Durham on Sept. 13, 2014.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

49ers to face 1-3-1 zone -- again

The 49ers will see a defense Wednesday at Oregon State that gave them all kinds of  problems Sunday in a loss against Coastal Carolina in the fifth-place game of the Charleston Classic.

The Beavers like to play a 1-3-1 zone, which is what the Chanticleers threw at Charlotte late in the first half after the 49ers had built a double-digit lead. That slowed things down enough to help Coastal eventually win 79-75 in double overtime.

But it's not as if the 1-3-1 zone has helped the Beavers too much. They're 1-2 and have lost to Seattle and Texas Southern.

-- Oregon State's coach is Craig Robinson the brother-in-law of President Barack Obama. Oregon State has five true freshmen, two red-shirt freshmen and three sophomores on its roster. The Beavers are led by senior forward Omari Johnson, who had a double-double against Seattle. Another Beavers senior, guard Calvin Haynes, needs eight points to hit the 1,000-point mark for his career.

-- Charlotte's An'Juan Wilderness has tried just three 3-pointers this season. The one he made tied the game at 68-68 against Coastal Carolina and helped send it into double overtime.

-- Walk-on Colby Lewis has taken advantage of Charlotte's depth problems in the backcourt. He's averaging 11.2 minutes and has made 3-of-11 3 pointers.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Observations from Charleston

Three things the 49ers (1-2) need to do tonight if they're going to beat East Carolina (2-1) in a losers bracket game at the Charleston Classic:

-- Get Shamari Spears and Chris Braswell involved earlier: Charlotte's inside game was mostly nonexistent against George Mason on Thursday. Spears is settling for jump shots and Braswell didn't start going to the basket regularly until the game was way out of reach.

-- Figure out a way to get Derrio Green some easy baskets to get his offensive game going Green has started the season in a dismal shooting slump and continued that by going 3 of 12 against George Mason. He's playing lots of minutes with point guard Jamar Briscoe because of Charlotte's glaring lack of backcourt depth, but he's got to find his shot again.

-- Hit the offensive boards. Charlotte shot poorly (38 percent) against George Mason, then basically gave up, grabbing just eight offensive rebounds. George Mason used all those defensive rebounds to run Charlotte into the ground in the second half. Coach Alan Major said that's all about toughness and his team doesn't have it yet. Charlotte forced just 8 turnovers and allowed the Patriots to shoot 65 percent in the second half.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dewhurst easing his way back

Noting the 49ers as they prepare for Thursday's game against George Mason at the Charleston Classic:

-- Injury update: Charles Dewhurst (knee) has been doing some light running at practice and might be back as early as next week. K.J. Sherrill (knee) is still several weeks from being back.

-- Shamari Spears' 13-of-16 free throw performance against S.C. State were career highs for attempts and makes for him. Same for Chris Braswell, who was 11 for 17 (the 11 made tied his career high against Richmond last season).

The 49ers would do well to pound it inside like that against George Mason.

-- The 49ers have averaged 28 3-pointers per game and are hitting just 26.8 percent. That's dragged down by Derrio Green (3 of 18) and Gokhan Sirin (3 of 11).
-- Charlotte is shooting 39.2 percent from the field. Take away the 3's, however, and it jumps to 50 percent.
Just saying.

-- George Mason has five starters back from a team that played in last season's tournament. Watch for guard Cam Long and forward Ryan Pearson, both dangerous scorers and effective rebounders.

-- Funny quote from Derrio Green, when I asked him to compare the coaching styles of Alan Major and Bobby Lutz: "I'm not trying to be mean, but there's something about short people getting mad. When coach Lutz got mad, he got your attention. I love coach Lutz. Coach Major is a little more laid back. But they both know how to get their point across."

--  Charleston ticket info: All six sessions (12 games) , $90 each. Single-session tickets (two games), $20 each. Booster tickets are available for $50, allowing entrance to all three sessions (six games) involving the pre-designated team of choice. Groups of 10 or more receive half off on booster tickets. Information: or call 843-953-2632.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

49ers women to play Hampton in WNIT

Charlotte's women's basketball team will play Hampton at 7 p.m. Friday in Halton Arena in the consolation round of the Preseason Women's NIT.

The 49ers (1-1) are coming off a 76-70 loss at Florida on Monday in the second round of the tournament.

Guard Epiphany Wilson is leading Charlotte with a 14.5-point average.

Gators coach Amanda Butler won her 100th game at Florida in Monday's game. It came against Charlotte, the team she used to coach before heading to Gainesville.

Early-season numbers

Here's how the 49ers rank in several Atlantic 10 categories after their first two games (Shamari Spears, An'Juan Wilderness and Phil Jones, who were each suspended for one game, aren't included since they haven't played in 75% of Charlotte's games).

-- Point guard Jamar Briscoe is sixth in the league in scoring (22.5 ppg), third in steals (3.5 ,per game) and tied for first in minute played (39.0). Shooting guard Derrio Green is sixth in minutes (37.5).

-- The 49ers are third in the league in scoring offense (80.0), but 12th in scoring defense (79.5).

-- Charlotte ranks high in free-throw percentage (69.9, fourth in the league), rebounding offense (41.0) and  steals (9.0, tied for third).

-- The 49ers are near the bottom in field goal percentage (39.2, 11th), field goal defense (44.9, 10th), rebounding defense (39.0), turnover margin (0, tie 11th) and assist/turnover ratio (.7, 13th).

Not a lot of conclusions to draw from yet, especially since Charlotte hasn't fielded its entire team in any one game: But the 49ers need to take better care of the ball, although Briscoe and Green have been active themselves in swiping it. And don't expect to see Briscoe and Green's minutes go down appreciably.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Observations from a 1-1 start

-- Friday's loss against lowly Gardner-Webb was never the disaster so many people seemed to think it was. Charlotte's not good enough to be able to lose five players -- including two starters and a sixth man -- to suspension, injury and eligibility, and still expect to win (which was the prevailing feeling in some quarters), no matter who it's playing.

Like the late Skip Prosser used to say, "The other team gives scholarships, too." It was a quality and quantity issue for Charlotte. They didn't have all their best players out there, and that also affected their depth, especially when two players fouled out. When you've got two walk-ons on the court, the problems are compounded.

-- Charlotte proved all this Saturday with Shamari Spears and An'Juan Wildnerness back in the lineup against S.C. State. Against a markedly better opponent, Charlotte imposed its will because it had better players available. End of story. Doesn't mean it will be that way every night, but that's what having your best players available will do for you.

-- A good start for new point guard Deuce Briscoe. Briscoe played 78 of 80 minutes in both games. With Spears back, he didn't shoot as much Saturday as he did Friday (9 of 17 for 30 points against Gardner-Webb; 5 of 13 for 15 points against S.C. State). He's a little guy (listed at 5-10, but probably not big) and had several of his shots blocked as he went to basket. But as he gets more comfortable, he'll continue to figure out his role in the offense. One thing is for sure, he's not afraid to shoot it when the offense clogs up.

And guess who had eight rebounds to lead his team in that department against S.C. State? Briscoe.

-- Derrio Green also played huge minutes (75). His shot is way off to start the season. He's 8 of 31, including 3 of 18 from 3-point range), but he had just four turnovers in the two games. The 49ers are shooting the 3 as much as they ever did under Bobby Lutz, taking 56 of them in the two games (making 15 of them).

-- Chris Braswell was a force inside against S.C. State. He kept getting to the basket and kept getting fouled, making 11 of 17 free throws. He got into early foul trouble (he also fouled out against Gardner-Webb) but kept himself in the game.

-- George Mason, Charlotte's first-round opponent in the Charleston Classic on Thursday, beat Harvard 66-53 in its season opener Saturday. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

3 players suspended this weekend

49ers men's basketball coach Alan Major has suspended three players -- Shamari Spears and An'Juan Wilderness for today's game against Gardner-Webb and Phil Jones for Saturday's against S.C. State -- for "violating team policy."

Major, in making the announcement just hours before today's season opener against Gardner-Webb would not discuss the nature of the violations, which occurred between the end of last season and the start of this season, according to a university news release.

“Our student-athletes understand the rules and that they are going to be held accountable,” said Major in a statement. “As we move forward, we want to continue to build a program in which players understand how they can impact the team as individuals, and strive to ensure that the mark they make is positive.”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Baseball schedule released

A schedule that features 29 of their first 34 games at home and contests against three ACC teams highlights Charlotte's 2011 schedule released Thursday.

The 49ers open their Atlantic 10 season March 25 with a series against Rhode Island at Hayes Stadium.

Charlotte plays home and home games against North Carolina (March 1 at Chapel Hill, March 29 at Charlotte) and Wake Forest (March 15 at Charlotte, March 22 at Winston-Salem) and at Duke March 16.

The season opener is Feb. 18 at home against Coppin State, the first of a four-game series.

The 49ers were 39-17 last season, tying school records for home victories (29) and consecutive home wins (17).

49ers announce their 3 signings

The 49ers made official Thursday what's been known for weeks: Guard Terrence Williams of Charlotte, big man Mike Thorne of Fayetteville and small forward E. Victor Nickerson or Norcross, Ga. have signed their letters-of-intent. All three had made verbal committed to the program earlier.

"All these guys possess high character and they love the game," said coach Alan Major of his first recruiting class. "They wanted to be part of this first class here at Charlotte and that's exciting to us."

Williams, from West Mecklenburg High, is a 6-4 forward who averaged 24.5 points and 10 rebounds last season.

"Whenever you can bring in a local product, it's exciting and we definitely wanted a guy in our first class," said Major. "Now we hope he's the first of many."

Thorne is 6-foot-10 center who has a 7-2 wingspan. He averaged 5.0 points, 6.2 rebounds as a junior in mostly a backup role at Fayetteville's Trinity Christian.

"Mike has a world of potential," said Major. Earlier this week, recruiting specialist Dave Telep told The Observer that Thorne "could wind up being the sleeper in this whole deal."

The 6-7 Nickerson averaged 10-plus points and 5 rebounds last season. "Someone with that type of well-rounded ability is exciting to bring in."

The 49ers are still waiting on a decision from guard Elijah Carter from Brewster (N.H.) Academy. Carter's coach said he might not announce until the spring.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

4 49ers make 1st team all-conference soccer

Four 49ers men's soccer players were named first team all-Atlantic 10 Wednesday. Senior forward Andrew Cuero, freshman midfielder Tyler Gibson, sophomore midfielder Donnie Smith and junior defender Charles Rodriguez all made the league's first team.

Rodriguez was named defender of the year and Gibson was honored as midfielder and rookie of the year
Defender Isaac Cowles also made the all-conference second team and Gibson led the all-rookie team.

49ers sign 4 women's players, including Spears' sister

The 49ers' women's basketball program signed four players today, including the sister of men's player Shamari Spears

Olivia Rankin, a 6-foot-2 forward from Salisbury, joins guard Desiree Drayton of Greensboro Dudley, guard Hillary Sigmon from Hickory and Salisbury guard Ayanna Holmes as coach Karen Aston's recruiting class of 2011.

Drayton, who verbally committed to the 49ers early in her junior season, has scored more than 700 points in her career and helped Dudley to a state title as a sophomore

Sigmon averaged 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists and 4.5 rebounds for the Red Tornadoes last season.

Rankin averaged 9.7 points and 5.3 rebounds last season and Holmes, the MVP of the state championship game, averaged 7.1 points.

New golf facility being dedicated today

The 49ers' new golf facility at Rocky River Golf Club is being dedicated today at 3 p.m.

The facility -- located off the second tee -- is a field house that will include coaches' offices, meeting rooms, lockers, an indoor putting surface and two hitting bays equipped with swing analysis computer technology.

It's a great upgrade for a program that has won five straight Atlantic 10 championships and has been to the NCAA tournament six consecutive seasons.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thoughts on a trip to Norfolk and ODU

I returned the other day from Norfolk, Va., with a group of 49ers officials who were on a football fact-finding trip to Old Dominion, which re-started its own program in 2009.

I'll have an extensive story on the trip in the paper next week, but here are a few thoughts I came away with:

-- If Charlotte can come close to replicating what Old Dominion has, football would be a smashing success. The Monarchs nearly sold out their on-campus (renovated) stadium for a game against lowly Savannah State. The atmosphere around the campus before the game was great -- tailgating, thousands of alumni returning to campus -- on a beautiful Saturday. No other sport can bring school spirit to a campus the way football does.

-- AD Judy Rose was accompanied by several staff members, most of whom are chairs of various football subcommittees (business operations, internal operations, sports medicine, sports information, Athletic Foundation, tickets, marketing, academic affairs, etc.). They all met with their ODU peers.

-- One of those ODU officials -- Bruce Stewart, associate AD for facilities/event management and football -- said there is one key to making the overall program successful: "Our football culture is working because we're winning," said Stewart (the Monarchs were 9-2 last season and are 6-3 so far this season). "I don't know anybody -- donors, alumni, students -- who don't want to be associated with a winner. When that happens, then you get traditions, and more school involvement. People are coming for the experience. If you provide that complete experience, everything else takes care of itself."

-- The Monarchs have already started new traditions -- a "Monarch March" team walk to the stadium on game days, pregame radio show on a campus quad, the marching band playing in a parking lot near the stadium, pep rallies and a "fan zone" that includes live music, food and drink.

-- To the winning point, Stewart, who handles ODU's scheduling, says that scheduling FBS teams for "guarantee" games is foolish for start-up programs. That's Rose's philosophy, too.

-- I talked to several alumni. One of them, from Virginia Beach, is an '87 graduate. He hadn't been back to the ODU campus until football started last season. He feels connected now.

-- ODU's Ballard Stadium was built in 1930 and seats 19,782. It was renovated and new suites and loges were added in one end zone. The Monarchs have sold a whopping 14,000 season tickets.

-- The Charlotte folks learned a lot about tailgating -- where to have it and what is legal (read: alcohol) to serve and where. For instance, Charlotte's campus has plenty of parking near where the stadium will be, but much of it is decked. Can't tailgate in parking decks. So they will be figuring that one out.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Men's soccer gets top seed

Charlotte's men's soccer team has the top seed in this weekend's Atlantic 10 tournament at Transamerica Field.

The 49ers will play a semifinal game at 8 p.m. Friday against the tournament's lowest remaining seed.

Thursday's games
No. 3 Temple vs. No. 6 Xavier, 5:30
No. 4 St. Bonaventure vs. No. 5 Saint Louis, 8

Friday's games
No. 2 La Salle vs. highest remaining seed, 5:30
No. 1 Charlotte vs. lowest remaining seed, 8

The championship is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. Charlotte, which finished 8-1 in the league, has won 10 of 11.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wingo's hot streak continues

Not only does Macky Wingo have one of the best names in women's college soccer, but she's playing as well as anybody in the country these days.

Wingo scored three more goals Friday in Charlotte's 3-1 victory against La Salle in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament at Rhode Island. She's now got eight goals in three games. Her five goals in two victories last week earned hear national player of the week honors by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

Wingo and the 49ers face rival Dayton at 1 p.m. Sunday for the league title. A berth in the NCAA tournament is at stake.

-- Charlotte's men's soccer team, the A-10's regular season champion by virtue of Friday's 2-0 victory against UMass, gets a first-round bye in the league tournament next week at Transamerica Field and will play a semifinal game at 8 p.m. Friday.

It's going to be a huge weekend on the 49ers' campus. In addition to all the men's soccer (which begins Thursday), the men's basketball opens its season at 4 p.m. Friday at Halton Arena, followed by a volleyball game.
On Saturday, both basketball teams play at Halton, with the soccer final scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

49ers might have to wait on recruit

With the national early signing day for basketball approaching (Nov. 10), Charlotte already has secured three verbal commitments for its recruiting class of 2011. But the 49ers might have to wait several more months before hearing from their final big target -- 6-2 guard Elijah Carter of Brewster (N.H.) Academy.

"Eli might wait until the spring when things might be clearer," Brewster coach Jason Smith told me Thursday. "I think he'd like to sign early, but that might not happen."

Carter committed last year to St. Bonaventure when he was playing in high school in Jersey City, N.J. Circumstances changed with the Bonnies -- an assistant coach left and some players got in trouble with the police -- so Carter backed out of his St. Bonaventure commitment and went to prep school in New Hampshire.

Smith said Carter -- a combo guard -- is having a good preseason. He'll start at shooting guard for Brewster alongside point guard Naadir Tharpe, who's going to Kansas. When Tharpe is out of the game, Carter will shift to the point, Smith said.

Charlotte continues to work hard to get Carter. Smith said coach Alan Major visited Wednesday. But Seton Hall is there Thursday and Oregon State will be there Friday.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

49ers won't pursue Big East

One of the big unanswered questions about Charlotte's startup football program is which conference the 49ers might end up in when they move up to the NCAA's Football Bowl Subdivision level (formerly I-A).

It apparently won't be the Big East.

A day after the Big East announced it plans to expand from eight to 10 football members and that the league was already evaluating possible candidates, 49ers athletics director Judy Rose said Charotte would not be one of them.

"We have to crawl before we walk," said Rose. "We're committed to (Football Championship Subdivision) for an indefinite amount of time."

The Big East -- which announced no timetable for the expansion -- is reportedly already considering Villanova, a basketball member and the reigning national FCS football champion. Other possiblities for the league have been reported to be Texas Christian or Central Florida.

Charlotte officials have privately said the Big East might be their best-case scenario in the future. But unless the conference were to decide to expand again, that's not looking likely.

Other 49ers notes

-- Women's soccer play Macky Wingo was named the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's national player of the week after scoring five goals in victories against Temple and Saint Joseph's last weekend. The top-seeded 49ers begin play in the Atlantic 10 tournament on Friday at Rhode Island.

-- Charlotte's volleyball team raised $10,000 in October in its "Dig Pink" campaign for breast cancer research. The 49ers raised the money in a variety of ways, including selling pink T-shirts during a match against Temple, a five-set victory for Charlotte.

ODU added to football schedule

Charlotte's latest football opponent for its first two seasons: Old Dominion.

The 49ers will play the NCAA FCS Monarchs, who started their own program in 2009 and went 9-2, in Norfolk, Va., on Sept. 21, 2013. ODU comes to Charlotte on Sept. 6, 2014.
Charlotte athletics officials, incidentally, are visiting ODU this weekend on a football fact-finding trip.

Charlotte's football schedules to date:

Aug. 31, Campbell.
Sept. 21, at Old Dominion
Oct. 5, Gardner-Webb
Oct. 26, at Charleston Southern
Nov. 2, at Coastal Carolina
Nov. 23, at Morehead State

Sept. 6, Old Dominion
Sept. 20, at Campbell
Sept. 27, Charleston Southern
Oct. 4, at Gardner-Webb
Nov. 8, Coastal Carolina
Nov. 22, Morehead State

Minnix wins student-athlete honor

Charlotte senior defender Megan Minnix has been named the Atlantic 10's women's soccer student athlete of the year. Minnix is the fourth straight 49er to win the award, following Lindsey Ozimek in 2007 and Hailey Beam in 2008-09.

Dayton, which tied the 49ers for the league's regular-season title, dominated the rest of the league's individual awards. But Charlotte fared well in placing several players on all-conference teams:

First team: Midfielder Sam Huecker; Minnix; forward Whitney Weinraub.

Second team: Forward Macky Wingo.

All-rookie: Goalkeeper Alex Kubrick.

All-academic: Minnix.

Dayton had the offensive player of the year (Colleen Williams); defensive player of the year (Kathleen Beljan); midfielder of the year (Jerica DeWolfe) and coach of the year (Mike Tucker). Richmond midfielder Becca Wann was the rookie of the year.

Charlotte has a first-round bye in the A-10 tournament which begins Thursday at Rhode Island.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Queens coach offers a reminder

As he prepared for Tuesday's basketball exhibition against the Charlotte 49ers, Queens coach Wes Long studied film of last season's late collapse that saw the 49ers lose seven of their final eight games and fail to make the postseason.

Here's what he noticed about the 49ers.

"It didn't look like they played very hard at the end of last season," said Long after the 49ers won 94-57 Tuesday.

If that's what it was, then Charlotte was a different team Tuesday. This edition of the 49ers -- with a new coach in Alan Major and a new point guard in Jamar Briscoe -- played a tougher, more physical brand of basketball than Charlotte fans might be used to seeing.

"There was a Big 10 influence in their play," said Long. "They jammed the cutter and played with a physicality in their defense."

Makes sense, since Major comes to Charlotte from Ohio State, where he was an assistant for six seasons.

Charlotte outrebounded the smaller Royals 47-27, getting 27 defensive boards.

"They beat us up on defense," said Long. "Which is how they do it where he came from."

Voncina ineligible tonight

49ers freshman guard Luka Voncina hasn't yet been declared eligible by the NCAA and won't play in tonight's exhibition against Queens at Halton Arena.

Voncina, who has been practicing with the team, hasn't been cleared to play by the NCAA, which continues to review his credits from his school in Slovenia. A statement from the 49ers said: "Voncina will remain ineligible pending a possible review of additional documentation by the NCAA."

Live chat with Scott Fowler noon-1

Join us for a live chat with Observer sports columnist Scott Fowler from noon to 1 p.m. at

Monday, November 1, 2010

49ers women get top seed

Charlotte's women's soccer team is the top seed in this weekend's Atlantic 10 tournament at Rhode Island.

The 49ers (15-4, 8-1 A-10) will play a semifinal game at 5 p.m. against the lowest-seeded team remaining in the tournament. Charlotte tied Dayton (16-3, 8-1) for the regular-season title but got the top seed due to a tie breaker. The 49ers and Flyers received first-round tournament byes.

First-round games Friday include No. 3 Duquesne vs. No. 6 La Salle and No. 4 St. Bonaventure against No. 5 Massachusetts.

Charlotte's Macky Wingo, who scored five goals in weekend victories against Temple and Saint Joseph's, was named the conference's player of the week Monday.

-- The Charlotte men's soccer team plays a big game Friday against UMass at Transamerica Field. The 49ers (11-5, 6-1) remain in first place in the league with 18 points, but the Minutemen (5-4-7, 4-1-2) are just four points behind in the standings and in third place.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nickerson commits to 49ers


E. Victor Nickerson, a 6-7 small forward from Norcross, Ga., committed to play basketball for the 49ers today.

Nickerson chose the 49ers over Colorado, Georgia Southern, DePaul and Wichita State. Nickerson was ranked 30th at his position by

Nickerson averaged 9.3 points and 5.7 rebounds for Norcross last season. He's one of four players on this season's team who will play Division I basketball.

"Charlotte runs an NBA-style pick and roll offense that appeals to me," said Nickerson in a statement. "Coach (Alan) Major has a good history of working with wings and I know he will help me develop on and off the court. I enjoyed my visits and really liked the diversity on the campus. I look forward to a great career at (Charlotte)."

Nickerson is Major's third commitment, joining big man Mike Thorne of Fayetteville and West Mecklenburg High shooting guard Terrence Williams. The 49ers are also pursuing point guard Elijah Carter of Brewster (N.H.) Academy.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Weinraub breaks scoring mark

Charlotte's Whitney Weinraub has broken the school's women's soccer goal-scoring record with a goal tonight Saint Joseph's.

Weinraub's goal, the 37th of her career, pushes her past Hailey Beam and Courtney Cook.

The 49ers are leading the Hawk 4-0 in the first half.

49ers lose one to Wolfpack

Forsyth Country Day point guard Tyler Lewis's verbal commitment to N.C. State today put a dent in the 49ers' recruiting efforts this year. Lewis, who attended Charlotte's "Major Madness" last week, is the brother of 49ers walk-on guard Colby Lewis.

Charlotte's still in the hunt for Elijah Carter, a guard from Brewster (N.H.) Academy and small forward E. Victor Nickerson of Norcross, Ga.

The 49ers already have commitments from West Mecklenburg shooting guard Terrence Williams and Mike Thorne of Fayetteville.

Major: Sherrill was off to strong start

Just spent some time with men's basketball coach Alan Major before Friday's practice. A few highlights:

-- Major said the most impressive player in the preseason had been forward K.J. Sherrill before he hurt his knee. "K.J. had a great summer and good early fall, so it's really unfortunate for him," said Major. "He was showing us a lot."

Sherrill, who had surgery on the knee earlier this week, is expected to miss 8-12 weeks.

-- Major said there's a silver lining to the absences of Sherrill and guard Charles Dewhurst (who's also out with a knee injury): "It's giving our other players more reps in practice. So they're getting a chance to get better a lot faster."

-- Point guard Jamar Briscoe (a transfer from N.C. Central) is starting to get a feel for his teammates. " 'Deuce' has had some good moments," said Major of Briscoe, who was a score-first point guard for the Eagles. "He's learning the game on this level. He was a volume guy; now he's an efficiency guy. He's not going to do what he did at Central, which is good because he's got more guys around him now."

-- The 49ers are four days away from a Tuesday exhibition against Queens in Halton Arena. The 49ers' season opener is at the unique time 4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 12 against Gardner-Webb, followed by another game the next day against S.C. State.

"Yeah, it's kind of funny," said Major of the first weekend, which came about when the 49ers couldn't find a game for the weekend of Dec. 4 (their only open weekend of the pre-conference season aside from Christmas). "But it will get us ready for the Charleston tournament (Nov. 18-19 and 21)."

Charlotte plays George Mason in its Charleston opener, then will face either N.C. State or Georgetown the next day.

-- Major said there are no issues with forward Shamari Spears, who suggested on his Twitter account earlier this week that he was unhappy with Major. Major said Spears' father visited Spears one day last week, and there was confusion whether the senior forward would be at practice.

"Shamari's had a great week of practice," said Major. "He's fine."

Bring food, get in Sunday soccer game free

Charlotte’s men's soccer team, who have won seven straight, play two Atlantic 10 games at Transamerica Field this weekend (Saint Joseph’s at 7 tonight; Temple at 1 p.m. Sunday). The 49ers (10-4, 5-0) remain in first place in the conference. Fans bringing a canned good will be admitted free to the Temple game (sponsored by Delta Sigma Phi fraternity and Alpha Delta Pi sorority).

The 49ers' women (13-4, 6-1) can move into at least a tie for first place in the A-10 with a pair of victories this weekend at Saint Joseph’s (tonight) and Temple (Sunday). First-place Dayton (7-1 in the league) is at Xavier tonight.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Coastal Carolina latest football opponent

The 49ers have added a series with Coastal Carolina for its first two football seasons of 20013 and '14.

Charlotte will play at Coastal on Nov. 2, 2013, then has a home game scheduled with the Chanticleers on Nov. 8, 2014.

The Chanticleers are members of the Big South and have already played in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs since their first year of playing football in 2003.

Here's how the 49ers' first two seasons shape up so far:

Aug. 31, Campbell.
Oct. 5, Gardner-Webb; 26, at Charleston Southern.
Nov. 2, at Coastal Carolina; 23, at Morehead State.

Sept. 20, at Campbell; 27, Charleston Southern.
Oct. 4, at Gardner-Webb.
Nov. 8, Coastal Carolina; 22, Morehead State.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

3 sports have perfect APR scores

Charlotte's golf, women's tennis and volleyball teams achieved perfect scores of 1,000 on their academic progress rates released Wednesday by the NCAA.

Here's how each of the rest of the school's programs scored and their ranking in the Atlantic 10: Baseball, 982 (6); men's basketball, 969 (4); men's cross-county, 995 (2); men's soccer, 955 (12); men's tennis, 955 (T12); men's indoor track, 992 (T3); men's outdoor track, 992 (T3); softball, 989 (5); women's basketball, 971 (9); women's cross-country, 980 (10); women's soccer, 975 (11); women's indoor track, 977 (12); women's outdoor track, 977 (13).

Using data collected over a rolling four-year period the NCAA calculates an APR for every team in the country every year. A team can be penalized by having a score of of less than 925 (including losing scholarships or recruiting limitations).

49ers' McCallum 1st-team A-10 selection

Charlotte guard Shannon McCallum has been named to the Atlantic 10's preseason first-team all-conference team. The 49ers, who were 18-14 last season, were chosen to finish fourth in the conference in the preseason poll by a vote of the league's coaches.

McCallum, a senior from Whiteville, averaged 14.2 points and 2.8 assists last season. She was also made the league's preseason all-defensive first team.

Xavier, which has won two consecutive league titles, is the preseason favorite. The Musketeers are followed by Dayton, Temple, Charlotte, Richmond, Duquesne, Saint Joseph's, St. Bonaventure, George Washington, Saint Louis, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Fordham and La Salle.

The rest of the preseason all-conference first team: Justine Raterman, Dayton; Kristen McCarthy, Temple; Amber Harris, Xavier; Ta'Shia Phillips, Xavier.

Second team: Brittani Shells, Richmond; Kristin Daugherty, Dayton; Special Jennings, Xavier; Samantha Pollino, Duquesne; Lauren Woods, Saint Louis.

Third team: Casey Nance, Dayton; Qwedia Wallace, Temple; Tiana Myers, George Washington; Jasmine Watson, Massachusetts, Megan Van Tatenhove.

All-defensive: McCallum; Nance; Shells; Phillips; Brooke Wilson, George Washington.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sherrill, Dewhurst have surgery

A few 49ers thoughts and notes:

-- Injured basketball players Charles Dewhurst and K.J. Sherrill both had successful knee surgeries Tuesday morning. Dewhurst is expected to be out 4-7 weeks, Sherrill for 8-12.

-- They've been replaced on the roster by walk-ons Raymond Morgenstern and Lamar Bradbury, who both look like they're guards.

-- The 49ers practiced today in Belk Gym, which isn't air conditioned. That was really apparent on a stuffy Tuesday afternoon.

-- Aside from Dewhurst and Sherrill, everybody else on the team was at practice.

-- Charlotte's men's soccer team is ranked 16th in the latest National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll. The first-place 49ers (10-4, 5-0 Atlantic 10) play Saint Joseph's at Transamerica Field on Friday. The Soccer America magazine poll -- a tougher ranking to crack -- will be released later today.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Knee injury sidelines Sherrill 8-12 weeks

49ers forward K.J. Sherrill is out 8-12 weeks with torn lateral meniscus in his left knee. Sherrill hurt the knee in Thursday night's "Major Madness" preseason activities.

It's the second dose of bad injury news for the 49ers this preseason: Guard Charles Dewhurst, a reserve guard, is out 4-7 weeks, also with a meniscus tear in his knee.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sherrill having MRI on knee

49ers forward K.J. Sherrill hurt his knee at "Major Madness" on Thursday night. He's having an MRI on it. We'll let you know the outcome as soon as we hear.

The 49ers have already lost guard Charles Dewhurst for 4-7 weeks to a knee injury.

Eureka Club dinner next Tuesday

From 49ers sports information:

The Charlotte 49ers women’s basketball program will hold their first annual Eureka Club tip-off potluck dinner, Tuesday, October 26 at 6 pm in the Food Court of the Barnhardt Student Activities Center. The dinner is for only Eureka Club members.

The event is a way for the members of the 49ers women’s basketball program’s booster club, The Eureka Club, to meet the 2010-11 team and coaching staff before the season starts. It is also a way for the women’s basketball team to show their appreciation to the Eureka Club members for their support.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dewhurst out 4-7 weeks

Charlotte senior guard Charles Dewhurst is out for four-to-seven weeks with a torn medial meniscus in his right knee. Dewhurst, who hurt the knee in practice last week, had just rejoined the team after graduating in May. He has another year of eligibility remaining.

On that timetable, Dewhurst could be back as soon as the 49ers' appearance in the Charleston Classic Nov. 18-21 or as late as Charlotte's game Dec. 11 at Davidson.

Spears, Braswell earn preseason honors

Charlotte's Shamari Spears and Chris Braswell are included in the Atlantic 10's preseason all-conference teams announced today at the league's media day in New York.

Spears was named to the second team; Braswell to the third team.

The 49ers were picked to finish seventh in the league's preseason poll picked by coaches and media.

First team all-conference
Lavoy Allen, Temple
Kevin Anderson, Richmond
Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure
Chris Wright, Dayton
Damian Saunders, Duquesne

Second team
Juan Fernandez, Temple
Chris Gaston, Fordham
Tu Holloway, Xavier
Delroy James, Rhode Island
Shamari Spears, Charlotte

Third team
Chris Braswell, Charlotte
Cody Ellis, Saint Louis
Chris Johnson, Dayton
Lasan Kromoh, George Washington
Aaric Murray, La Salle

All-defensive team
Lavoy Allen, Temple
Kevin Anderson, Richmond
Dante Jackson, Xavier
Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure
Damian Saunders, Duquesne

All-rookie team
C.J. Aiken, Saint Joseph's
Langston Galloway, Saint Joseph's
Jordan Latham, Xavier
Rob Loe, Saint Louis
Juwan Staten, Dayton

Preseason poll (1st place votes, total)
1. Temple (19), 350
2. Xavier (3), 325
3. Richmond (3), 311
4. Dayton (1), 310
5. Rhode Island, 233
6. Saint Louis, 223
7. Charlotte, 218
8. Duquesne, 172
9. La Salle, 133
10. George Washington, 130
11. Massachusetts, 126
12. Saint Joseph's, 91
13. St. Bonaventure, 80
14. Fordham, 28

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gardner-Webb added to 49ers' basketball schedule

The Charlotte 49ers have added another home men's basketball 2010-2011 schedule. Charlotte will now host Gardner-Webb at 4 p.m. Nov. 12 at Halton Arena.

In addition, the 49ers have moved their home preseason exhibition game with Queens to Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m.

The change gives Charlotte 15 home games, including the exhibition, and a full regular-season slate. UNC Charlotte faculty and staff members will be eligible to pick-up four free tickets to the Gardner-Webb game while single game tickets will be $5 each.

Additionally, fans are encouraged to remain in Halton Arena for the 49ers volleyball senior night match versus Atlantic 10 rival Rhode Island.

Charlotte opens the season on Thursday at 9 p.m. with its annual "Major Madness" celebration. On Saturday, the 49ers will host a Basketball Fan Day. Doors open at 2:30 p.m. with scrimmages by both the men’s and women’s team to start at 3 p.m.

- Jim Utter

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dewhurst having knee MRI

Guard Charles Dewhurst, who returned to the Charlotte basketball team last week, "tweaked" his knee recently in practice and is having an MRI done Wednesday.

Coach Alan Major said he didn't know how severely Dewhurst's knee is injured. Dewhurst was at the team's media day Tuesday and appeared to walk without a limp.

Dewhurst, who graduated in May, will be a grad student this fall. He decided over the summer he wasn't finished playing basketball. He spent significant amounts of time sidelined with injuries his freshman and sophomore seasons.

"It's tough because he made the effort to come back out," said Major. "We're hoping it's nothing too bad."

-- Major said there's no word yet on the pending eligibility of freshman guard Luke Voncina. The NCAA is reviewing Voncina's academic credits from his school in Slovenia. Voncina is expected to compete for playing time in the backcourt with transfer Jamar Briscoe and Derrio Green.

Monday, October 18, 2010

'Guarantee' game not happening

A few 49ers thoughts and notes after being away for a week:

-- As the 49ers continue to roll out opponents for the first football season of 2013, don't expect the names to get too big. There will be no "guarantee" road games at big-time FBS teams that season, or for 2014, for that matter. So if you're hearing that Charlotte will play at places like Tennessee, Georgia or Virginia Tech, don't believe it.

Games like that (in which teams like Charlotte can be paid as much as $400,000) might come later, in fact they most certainly will. But not in the first two seasons. 49ers officials think Georgia State is crazy for playing Alabama in November in the final game of the Panthers' first season.

Most first-year programs aren't playing guarantee games, at least not for a while. South Alabama, which is playing its first full season of football this year, will play teams like LSU, Oklahoma State and Navy in the future.

Last week's news that the 49ers will play Gardner-Webb brings to four the number of games scheduled for the first football season. All four teams -- the Bulldogs, Charleston Southern, Morehead State and Campbell -- are NCAA Football Championship Subdivision teams (the latter two non-scholarship Pioneer League programs).

-- While we're on football, let's put some early pressure on that first team. Georgia State, which is 5-2 already, has beaten Morehead State and Campbell, so why shouldn't the 49ers be able to do that?

-- The men's basketball program got good news last week when guard Charles Dewhurst's return to the team was finalized. Dewhurst, who graduated in May, has another year of eligibity left and is in grad school at UNCC this year.

Dewhurst was behind the rest of the team in his conditioning and early knowledge of new coach Alan Major's system. Major had to be convinced that Dewhurst was back in shape and was picking up the new system before adding him to the roster.

The basketball teams began practice on Friday. It's media day on Tuesday and "Major Madness" is Thursday at 9 p.m. at Halton Arena. And Fan Day is at 3 p.m. Saturday.

-- This is shaping up to be a memorable year for the 49ers' men's and women's soccer teams. The men (9-4, 4-0) are in first place in the Atlantic 10 and the women (12-4, 5-1) trail only Dayton in the league standings.

Andres Cuero continues to shine for the men, who are ranked 23rd in this week's NSCAA poll. He's the A-10's player of the week, thanks to game-winning goals against George Washington and Richmond last week. He's been clutch all season: He had a game-winner against Clemson earlier.

The 49ers, who finish their regular season with five consecutive home games (beginning Friday against Saint Louis) have positioned themselves well. A quick start in the league was crucial because only six teams of the league's 14 teams qualify for the conference tournament, which is scheduled for Nov. 11-12 and 14 at Charlotte's Transamerica Field.

-- Things are going nearly as well for coach John Cullen's women's team. It's too bad the 49ers don't face Dayton in the regular-season, though. That will have to wait for the league tournament the first week of November at Rhode Island.

Whitney Weinraub, who isn't having her best season statistically, finally tied the school goals record when she scored the 36th of her career last week against George Washington. She can break the record Saturday against Saint Louis at Transamerica Field.

-- Baseball's Green team took a 2-1 lead on the White team in the 49ers' fall practice "World Series" last weekend. Games 4 and 5 are this coming weekend, which will complete fall practice. The 49ers had to practice for a while at North Mecklenburg High while reseeding took place at Hayes Stadium.

Highlights of Charlotte's fall classic: Corey Shaylor and Ross Steedley had RBI singles in the Green's 3-0 victory in Game 1; freshman Tyler Barnette (who was drafted by the Boston Red Sox but elected to play for the 49ers, allowed one run on six hits and three strikeouts in 4.2 innings for the Whites in Game 2; Jim Lyerly's RBI single won Game 3 for the Greens.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Latest football opponent: Gardner-Webb

   The Charlotte 49ers have added a second home contest to the 2013 schedule. Charlotte will host Gardner-Webb on Oct. 5, 2013, at the 49ers' on-campus 15,000-seat football stadium, which is due to break ground in May. The 49ers will return a visit to Gardner-Webb on Oct. 4, 2014.

   This is the fourth home-and-home series the 49ers have scheduled for their inaugural first two seasons, with two of the series starting at home and two opening on the road.

   Here's how the 49ers' first two season schedules are shaping up so far:

   2013 SCHEDULE
   Aug. 31 - CAMPBELL (H)
   Oct. 5 - GARDNER-WEBB (H)
   Oct. 26 - at Charleston Southern (A)
   Nov. 23 - at Morehead State (A)
   2014 SCHEDULE
   Sept. 20 - at Campbell (A)
   Oct. 4 - at Gardner-Webb (A)
   Nov. 22 - MOREHEAD STATE (H)
   - Jim Utter

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

49ers finish third in Duke golf tournament

The Charlotte 49ers finished third at Duke's Rod Myers Invitational golf tournament with an even-par 288 on the final day. Iowa won with a three-day 851 total, followed by N.C. State at 856 and Charlotte at 860. Michigan (861) and Duke (866) rounded out the top five.

N.C. State freshman Albin Choi won his second individual title in the past six days with a one-stroke victory. He shot a 1-under 71 Monday and finished with a 5-under 211 total. Choi also won the Wolfpack Intercollegiate by one shot last Tuesday.

Olafur Loftsson and Will Golden led the 49ers with even-par 216 totals, which tied for 13th place.

-- Observer news services

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Latest football opponent: Charleston Southern

The 49ers have made the Big South's Charleston Southern their third football opponent in 2013.

The 49ers will play at Charleston Southern on Oct. 26, 2013. The 49ers and Buccaneers will play in Charlotte on Sept. 27, 2014.

Here's how Charlotte's first football schedules looks so far:

Aug. 31, Campbell
Oct. 26, at Charleston Southern
Nov. 23, at Morehead State

Sept. 20, at Campbell
Sept. 27, Charleston Southern
Nov. 22, Morehead State

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

49ers getting 1st football marketing exposure

The 49ers have a deal with Coca-Cola to promote the school's new football program.

Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated has designed a standup image of 49ers mascot Norm The Niner in the Heisman Trophy pose. It will be part of a 49ers-Coke display at selected Charlotte-area retailers. The displays will go into stores later this month and November.

Coca-Cola will also have a special 49ers T-shirt giveaway with the purchase of Coke products at Outtakes locations on the UNC Charlotte campus.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Meet basketball teams uptown

The 49ers' men's and women's basketball teams -- along with coaches Alan Major and Karen Aston -- will be on the Square uptown (the corner of Trade and Tryon) Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for the 49ers' Uptown Tipoff.

Joining the teams and coaches will be cheerleaders, Gold Duster dancers, the basketball band and Norm the Niner.

-- Soccer player Andres Cuero, who scored twice against Clemson in a 2-1 double-overtime victory last week, was named to College Soccer News' national team of the week.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Successful soccer weekend

-- Jonna Handra's goal gave Charlotte's women's soccer team a 1-0 victory at Rhode Island on Sunday afternoon as the 49ers continued their regular-season dominance in the A-10. The 49ers are 9-3 overall and 2-0 in the league after winning at UMass on Friday.

-- The men's 1-0 victory against Furman on Saturday night sends them in to league play with a 5-4 record. Charlotte is at St. Bonaventure on Friday, then goes to Duquesne on Sunday.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Solid conference start for women's soccer

The 49ers' women's soccer team -- which is still on the road -- got its Atlantic 10 season off to a strong start with a 2-0 victory against Massachusetts on Friday.

Next up for Charlotte (8-3, 1-0) is a game Sunday at Rhode Island.

The 49ers continue to shine in conference play. They're 21-0-2 in regular-season league games in the past two-plus seasons.

Charlotte's game Sunday against the Rams will be their sixth straight on the road. They're 4-1 so far. The 49ers return to Transamerica Field next weekend with games against St. Bonaventure and Duquesne.

-- Charlotte's Kat Hicks (16 kills, 10 digs) and Bianca Rouse (12 and 10) had double-doubles in a close lost to defending A-10 champ Saint Louis on Friday at Halton Arena. Charlotte is 9-8 and 0-2 in the league.

-- Strong showings by both cross-country teams in the Charlotte Invitational Friday at McAlpine Greenway Park. The women finished fourth, the men fourth. Laura McCary (10th) and Ross Roberson (15th) paced each team.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Coaches visit N.H. recruit

49ers coaches visited point guard prospect Elijah Carter at Brewster (N.H.) Academy today, according to Carter's Twitter account.

"It was good," Carter tweeted.

Coach Alan Major continues to work hard after getting verbal commitments in the past week from center Mike Thorne of Fayetteville and West Mecklenburg shooting guard Terrence Williams.

Carter was scheduled to take his official visit to Charlotte last weekend.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cuero's goal wins it

Andres Cuero's 25-yard blast with 5:55 left in the second overtime gave Charlotte a 2-1 victory against Clemson in men's soccer Tuesday.

It was the second goal of the game for Cuero. Charlotte improves to 4-4, while the Tigers drop to 1-5-1.

Charlotte, Clemson headed to overtime

The 49ers and Clemson are tied 1-1 at the end of regulation and heading to overtime.

Charlotte had several chances late in regulation, but couldn't score. The best of the chances came from Anthony Perez, whose close-range shot was high with 7 1/2 minutes left. Five minutes later -- with 2 1/2 minutes left in regulation --
Isaac Cowles' header off a corner sailed just wide of the goal.

Niners, Clemson tied at half

The 49ers and Clemson are tied 1-1 at halftime of their men's soccer game at TransAmerica Field.

Senior Andres Cuero scored Charlotte's goal at 22:15 on a nice header off a free kick by Donnie Smith. Cuero flicked it on past Tigers goalkeeper Cody Mizell.

Clemson had taken a 1-0 lead at 18:30 on a 15-yard volley by Jack Metcalf after Charlotte failed to clear a corner kick.

Charlotte outshot Clemson 16-3 in the half.

Golf finishes 6th at VCU tournament

The 49ers' 10th-ranked golf team finished sixth at the VCU Shootout in Richmond today, 12 shots behind winner UNC Wilmington.

Charlotte's Olafur Loftsson finished tied for seventh with a one-under par 215. Other 49ers finishes: Paul Ferrier and Will Golden (both tied for 23rd), Andy Sajevic (tied for 37th), Simon St-Louis (tied for 44th) and Rafael Guererro (66th).

Iowa State's Nate McCoy won the individual championship with an eight-under 208.

West Meck guard commits to 49ers

Terrence Williams, a 6-foot-4 guard from West Mecklenburg High, has verbally committed to the 49ers' men's basketball team, according to his coach Donald Kirby.

Williams averaged 25 points and 12 rebounds as a junior last season. Kirby said he chose Charlotte over Tulane, East Carolina, College of Charleston and Northeastern. Kirby also said Clemson showed some late interest in Williams.

Williams is new 49ers coach Alan Major's second freshman recruit for the 2011 season, following big man Mike Thorne of Fayetteville.

The 49ers are also in the running for point guard Elijah Carter of Brewster (N.H.) Academy, who made his official visit last weekend, and small forward E. Victor Nickerson of Norcross, Ga.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wingo earns A-10 women's soccer honor

-- Charlotte's Macky Wingo, who had two goals and an assist in two 49ers victories over the weekend, is the Atlantic 10's women's soccer co-player of the week.

Wingo, a junior midfielder from Raleigh, had a goal and an assist in Charlotte's 4-0 victory Friday against High Point, then scored the lone goal in the 49ers' 1-0 victory against Francis Marion on Sunday.

The 49ers (7-3) open league play this weekend with games at Massachusetts (Friday) and Rhode Island (Sunday).

-- The 49ers' men's soccer team, which hasn't won since upsetting Wake Forest two weeks ago, hosts another ACC team on Tuesday when Clemson comes to Transamerica Field.

Charlotte has lost to Campbell and South Carolina by identical 1-0 scores since beating the Deacons. Charlotte hadn't lost at home since Oct. 25, 2008 before the Gamecocks' loss on Saturday. The 49ers (3-4) also are host to Furman on Saturday.

-- Charlotte's golf team -- ranked 10th in ths week's Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index -- is in Richmond, Va., today and Tuesday to play in the Verizon Wireless VCU Shootout.

Charlotte's Corey Nagy won the individual title last year at the VCU tournament.

The 49ers recently finished fourth in their season-opening Gopher Invitational in Minnesota.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Nagy, women's soccer are winners

-- Former 49ers golfer Corey Nagy took the first step toward getting to the PGA Tour on Friday, winning a pre-qualifying tournament for Q school in Valdosta, Ga.

Nagy shot an 8-under par 280 to win at Kinderlou Forest Golf Club. Nagy shot 74-67-68-71 to win by two strokes.

-- The women's soccer team beat High Point 4-0, improving to 6-3. The 49ers play Sunday at Francis Marion. Oni Bernard scored twice for the 49ers.

Trustees see new stadium renderings

The latest architectural renderings of the Charlotte 49ers' on-campus stadium were unveiled to the school's board of trustees Friday morning.

A few highlights:

-- The stadium will initially seat 15,000 and is expandable to 40,000 (seen above) or possibly to 60,000. That will presumably happen when the 49ers move from playing in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision. The expansion would include an upper deck and expanded press box. Groundbreaking is set for May 2011.

-- The field will be artificial turf. Two natural-grass practice fields -- one 100 yards, the other 80 yards -- be adjacent to the stadium.

-- The scoreboard will not have a video screen at first, but there is space for it to expanded to include that.

-- The stadium will not have lights initially, but they will be added later.

-- The field house in the stadium's south end will, in addition to locker rooms, have an observation deck.

Renderings courtesy of Jenkins Peer Architects.

Click on each image below to see larger version:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Video of Whitney Weinraub

Charlotte 49ers senior forward Whitney Weinraub needs four goals to break the school's career scoring record held by Hailey Beam and Courtney Cook. She'll get another shot at the record this weekend with games Friday at High Point and Sunday at Francis Marion. We have a profile of Weinraub in Friday's Observer and here's some game video of her shot by the 49ers' sports information office.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Duke highlights women's basketball schedule

The 49ers' women's basketball schedule was released Wednesday, with Charlotte opening its season with a home game in the Preseason Women's NIT against Iona on Nov. 13. Two weeks later, the 49ers will play host to Duke on Nov. 27.
Charlotte's Atlantic 10 season begins Jan. 7 with a home game against Temple.
The A-10 tournament is Feb. 4-7 in Lowell, Mass.

Nov. 13, Iona (Preseason WNIT); 15, 17, 21 Preseason WNIT, TBA; 23, Savannah State; 27, Duke; 30, at N.C. A&T.

Dec. 2, at UNC Wilmington; 5, East Carolina; 8, at Western Carolina; 11, Virginia Commonwealth; 19, at Arkansas State; 22, Md.-Eastern Shore; 28-29, at Tulane Classic (Old Dominion, Tulane/Nicholls State).

Jan. 2, Virginia Tech; 7, Temple; 12, Fordham; 15, at Saint Joseph's; 19, at Rhode Island; 22, Xavier; 26, at Richmond; 30, at Saint Louis.

Feb. 5, at Massachusetts; 9, George Washington; 12, Dayton; 16, at La Salle; 19, Saint Louis; 23, Duquesne; 26, at St. Bonaventure.

March 4-7, Atlantic 10 tournament (at Lowell, Mass.).

Major's 2nd freshman recruit 'still growing'

Mike Thorne, a 6-10 center who verbally committed to Charlotte's men's basketball program earlier this week, isn't close to finishing growing or developing his game, his high school coach says.

"He's one of those kids who has developed late, like most 'bigs' do," said Heath Vandevender, the coach at Fayetteville's Trinity Christian, where Thorne will be a senior this season.

Vandevender confirmed that Thorne became new 49ers coach Alan Major's second freshman recruit (following guard Luka Voncina) earlier this week after making his official visit over the weekend.

"He's taking a while to catch up with his body," said Vandevender, who said Thorne averaged 5.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks as a part-time starter as a junior last season.

"He's about 244 pounds now, so he looks skinny. But he's still growing. He might be 6-11 by the time he gets to Charlotte."

Vandevender said Thorne has a 2.9 GPA -- and size 18 shoes. He transferred to Trinity Christian after his freshman year at Fayetteville Westover.

Vandevender said Thorne had narrowed his college choices to Winthrop, Tulane, Western Carolina, Marquette and James Madison. He had already visited Winthrop, Tulane and James Madison.

Elijah Carter, a guard from Brewster (N.H.) Academy is making his official visit to Charlotte this weekend

Major has already signed guard DeMario Mayfield, a transfer from Georgia who will sit out this season. The 49ers are also in the running for shooting guard Terrence Williams of West Mecklenburg and small forward E. Victor Nickerson of Norcross, Ga.