Friday, April 29, 2011

Loftsson's ace highlights golf's first day

The 49ers' pursuit of a sixth consecutive Atlantic 10 golf title got off to a good start today when Charlotte junior Olafur Loftsson had a hole in one on the 15th hole in the first round of the A-10 Championship at Mission Inn Golf Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.

Loftsson, who was the individual runner-up last year to then-teammate Corey Nagy, is trying to help Charlotte become the first team in Atlantic 10 history to win a league championship six straight years.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

S. McCallum signs with WNBA's Dream

Former 49ers women's basketball player Shannon McCallum has signed with the WNBA's Atlanta Dream. McCallum, who was a two-time second all-Atlantic 10 player, helped Charlotte to a school-record 27 victories last season and played on Charlotte's 2009 conference championship team.

She's the third 49ers player to play in the WNBA, joining Markita Aldridge (Washington Mystics) and Jameka Jones (Miami Sol).

“I’m just so happy,” McCallum said in a release. “I never thought this day would come. This has always been a dream of mine, ever since I was little. It’s just a relief. I did it. I’m here. I’m just so excited to be just the third 49er that gets to play in the WNBA. [Atlanta] can expect hard work. I’ll play and play until I can’t play anymore.”

Stadium groundbreaking is today

Today's groundbreaking for the Charlotte 49ers' on-campus football stadium will have a festive atmosphere.

The groundbreaking for the 15,000-seat stadium is set for 3 p.m., with tailgating beginning at 1 p.m.
There will be a tailgate reception from 4 to 6 p.m.
Construction on the stadium is scheduled to be finished for the Aug. 31, 2013, game against Campbell, the first football game in Charlotte history.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

49ers introduce new women's coach

Cara Consuegra said she has never shied away from a challenge.

She said she won’t start now as she takes over as the Charlotte 49ers’ women’s basketball coach, her first college head coaching position.

Consuegra (pronounced Con-SWAY-gruh) inherits a program fresh off a school-record 27wins and appearance in the semifinals of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. The 49ers have made nine consecutive postseason appearances under three head coaches.

“I have never been a person afraid of high expectations. I hold myself to those expectations and I want to be a part of that – the coach of a program where we are expected to win,” said Consuegra, who was introduced as the 49ers’ eighth head coach during a news conference Tuesday on campus.

“I want to do everything that I can do to continue that tradition of success.”

Consuegra spent the past seven years as an assistant at Marquette, which won 145 games during the span and made the postseason each year. The Golden Eagles won the WNIT title in 2008.

Consuegra received an initial five-year contract with a base salary of $165,000 per year plus incentives. She replaces Karen Aston, who resigned this month and has since been hired at North Texas.

- Jim Utter

49ers lead nation in ERA

The 49ers' baseball team's ERA of 2.12 leads the nation, according to NCAA statistics released today.

Charlotte (31-9), which plays at Winthrop tonight, has two pitchers, Andrew Smith (1.34) and freshman Tyler Barnette (1.37) in the top 20 individually.

Barnette was named the Atlantic 10's freshman of the week for his complete game victory against Fordham on Sunday.

I'm planning on having a feature story in the Observer later this week on the 49ers' pitching staff -- and how it might be benefiting from an NCAA baseball rule change this season.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Consuegra new women's basketball coach

The 49ers will announce their new women's basketball coach on Tuesday and it's expected to be Marquette assistant Cara Consuegra, a source confirmed today

Consuegra has been with the Golden Eagles since 2004 and also has an impressive playing resume. She is Iowa's career assists leader (576) and is one of 13 players in Big Ten history to finish her career with more than 1,000 points and 500 assists. She was MVP of the 2001 Big Ten tournament.

She also played one season with the WNBA's Utah Starzz (2001).

Before going to Marquette, Consuegra spent three seasons as Penn State's director of basketball operations.

Consuegra replaces Karen Aston, who resigned earlier this month to take the coaching job at North Texas. The 49ers were semifinalists in last season's Women's NIT.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Festivities highlight stadium groundbreaking

Next week's groundbreaking for the Charlotte 49ers' on-campus football stadium will have a festive atmosphere.

The groundbreaking for the 15,000-seat stadium is set for 3 p.m. on Thursday, with tailgating beginning at 1 p.m.

There will be a tailgate reception from 4 to 6 p.m.

Construction on the stadium is scheduled to be finished for the Aug. 31, 2013, game against Campbell, the first football game in Charlotte history.

-- David Scott

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tall named 49ers' defensive coordinator

A third key component to the 49ers' football coaching staff was added Thursday when Bruce Tall was named Charlotte's defensive coordinator.

Tall, who spent the last three seasons as Michigan's defensive line coach, joins offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen under head coach Brad Lambert. James Adams also was hired earlier this month as defensive position coach.

Tall, a long-time assistant under former West Virginia and Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, has plenty of experience. He was the safeties coach at West Virginia from 2003-07 and was defensive line coach at Western Michigan in 2002.

He's also been at Cornell, Northeastern, Harvard and was defensive coordinator at Ohio Wesleyan -- his alma mater earlier in his career.

The 49ers play their first season in 2013. Lambert was able to hire Tall, Mullen and Adams this year, but will have to wait until 2012 to hire the rest of his staff.

Friday, April 15, 2011

49ers land point guard

Pierria Henry, a 6-3 point guard from South Charleston (W.Va.) High, signed a letter of intent with the 49ers earlier this week.
Henry, who verbally committed to VCU last year but changed his mind, reportedly had also considered Clemson, Marshall, West Virginia and Xavier.
He joins shooting guard Terrence Williams, center Mike Thorne and forward E. Victor Nickerson in Charlotte's freshman class of 2011.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

49ers basketball, football on Fox Sports Radio (730-AM)

The Charlotte 49ers have agreed to a three-year deal with Charlotte's Fox Sports 730-AM to carry men's basketball and football games.

The station will also carry "The Alan Major Show," as well as expand to football broadcasts and "The Brad Lambert Show" in 2013.

Matt Swierad, the smooth and tireless voice of the 49ers, will start his 11th year as the voice of Charlotte men's basketball next season.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sirin caught in numbers game?

Gokhan Sirin's decision to leave the Charlotte 49ers' basketball program probably came down to a simple numbers game for him.

Sirin, a 6-9 small forward, was somewhat of a one-trick pony for Charlotte. He could shoot the 3 (he made 43.1 percent of his shots last season), but that's about all he did (65 of his 75 total shots were from long-range). Plus, he was a defensive liability, and that's not going to cut it with coach Alan Major as he molds this program into something he wants.

Sirin averaged about 11 minutes per game, but those numbers dwindled  well below that late in the season. Except for two games that he played 13 minutes (vs. Richmond and Xavier), he averaged single-digit minutes down the stretch and didn't even get in against Saint Louis.

So, here's what Sirin was facing: He of course wasn't going to start next season ahead of Javarris Barnett. And some of the slew of new players coming in -- 6-5 transfer DeMario Mayfield, 6-4 Luka Voncina (he WILL be eligible next season), 6-7 freshman E. Victor Nickerson, 6-4 freshman Terrence Williams and 6-3 freshman Pierria Henry -- would have all competed with Sirin for spots on the perimeter, either at the 3 or 2 spot. And they're presumably more well-rounded players, too.

Here's a brief aside: Note the sizes of Mayfield, Williams and Henry and see if there's not a trend in what Major wants to do in the backcourt now. Returning starters Jamar Briscoe (5-10) and Derrio Green (6-2) don't fit that mold.

Sirin leaves 49ers

Sophomore Gokhan Sirin is leaving the 49ers' men's basketball team.

Sirin, a 6-9 forward from Istanbul, Turkey, plans to transfer, but didn't say where.

Sirin was mostly used as a 3-point shooting specialist last season and made 43.1 percent of his shots. He averaged 3.3 points and 1.2 rebounds.

“I enjoyed my time at Charlotte, but I feel I need to find a better situation for myself,” said Sirin in a statement released by the school.

“We thank Gokhan for his efforts this season as a 49er,” coach Alan Major said. “We wish him the best in all of his future endeavors.”

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lutz, Aston in new jobs

N.C. State made it official today, announcing that former 49ers basketball coach Bobby Lutz will join new coach Mark Gottfried's staff as an assistant. Lutz will be reunited with Orlando Early, one of his former assistants, with the Wolfpack.
Also, a newspaper in Denton, Texas is reporting that former Charlotte women's coach Karen Aston will be introduced Tuesday as the new coach at North Texas.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Family concerns drove Aston decision

Charlotte 49ers athletics director Judy Rose is looking for a women’s basketball coach for the fourth time in 10 years -- and she’s not happy about it.

Rose was caught by surprise Wednesday when Karen Aston -- who led the 49ers to the semifinals of the Women’s NIT this season -- resigned without having another job immediately in place.

“This is very disappointing,” said Rose. “I got no hint of this coming at all. But when somebody says it’s for family reasons, that makes it very hard.”

Aston said she is leaving because so she can be near her elderly mother and stepfather, who live in Benton, Ark.

“There’s a point where you feel like you need to be around your family,” said Aston. “It’s difficult to get there and they can’t get here. The time comes when you have some responsibility for some things with your family. That time is near with me.”

Aston wouldn’t say where her next coaching stop will be. But one possibility would appear to be North Texas, which has a job opening and is much closer to Arkansas than Charlotte. Aston spent two seasons as an assistant with the Mean Green from 1996-98 and was an assistant at Texas and Baylor for 11 other seasons, so she’s familiar with the area.

Another reason Rose was surprised by Aston’s decision was a contract extension through 2015 Aston signed last year. The contract included a $100,000 buyout

Aston had a four-year record of 86-47, which included an Atlantic 10 championship and NCAA tournament appearance in 2009. Charlotte played in the WNIT the other three seasons, including this season’s run to the tournament’s semifinals. The 49ers’ 27 victories were a school record.

In 2007, Aston replaced Amanda Butler at Charlotte. Butler had been in the job just two years and had succeeded Katie Meier, who coached the 49ers from 2001-2005.

“The women’s basketball program is not broken at Charlotte,” said Rose, who said she hopes to have a new coach hired by May 1. “But these kids need stability.”

Aston resigns from women's basketball

49ers women's basketball coach Karen Aston has resigned. Aston didn't say what her next job will be but that she wants to be nearer to her family, which lives I Arkansas. More on this later.

SoCon football opponents added

The Charlotte 49ers continue to build their football schedule for their program’s first few seasons, and have dipped into the Southern Conference for more opponents.

Charlotte, which begins football in 2013, will play home-and-home series with Georgia Southern in 2014 (Oct. 25 in Charlotte) and ’15 (Sept. 26 in Statesboro, Ga.) and Western Carolina (in Cullowhee Nov. 1, ’14 and home in '15 (date TBD) and a game at The Citadel Oct. 11, 2014.

Charlotte’s first game is Aug. 31, 2013 at home against Campbell. Groundbreaking for the school’s on-campus stadium is April 28.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Adams added to football staff

49ers football coach Brad Lambert added a second assistant to his staff Monday, hiring former Wake Forest linebacker James Adams as defensive position coach.
Adams, 26, who was Wofford’s cornerbacks coach last season and spent two years on Wake Forest’s staff in 2008-09, will be one of Lambert’s top recruiters for a program that begins playing in 2013.
A native of Durham, Adams played 20 games for Lambert from when he was Wake Forest’s linebackers coach. He came back from a knee injury in 2004, making 10 tackles in 10 games as a senior in 2005. He was a graduate assistant at Wake Forest in 2008 and a recruiting coordinator assistant in 2009.
“Very high character,” Lambert said of Adams. “He’s sat in the same room with (me) before, so he knows what (I’m) about and how (I) do things.”
Adams’ specific spot on the defensive staff hasn’t been set yet, and likely won’t be until Lambert hires a defensive coordinator. Lambert said Adams will likely be the team’s secondary or linebackers coach, however.
Lambert has already hired offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen and can hire another assistant in May before filling out his staff in 2012.
The timing of Adams’ hiring means he’ll be one of the 49ers’ key recruiters. They can begin actively recruiting on April 15, although Lambert said they already have a board set up on a wall in their temporary offices in Charlotte’s athletic department.
“We’ve got who we need at what position and how many we can take, things like that,” Lambert said. “This is when it’s fun.”

Sunday, April 3, 2011

McCallum earns spot on WNIT all-tournament team

Charlotte senior guard Shannon McCallum was named to the Women's National Invitational Tournament all-tournament team after helping the 49ers reach the Final Four for the first time in school history.

McCallum averaged 16.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and over two assists in the WNIT.

-- Observer News Services