Wednesday, November 30, 2011

49ers release baseball schedule

The 49ers baseball team, last season's Atlantic 10 champion, released its 2012 baseball schedule today. The 49ers have 27 home games and open the season at Hayes Stadium with a four-game set Feb. 17-19 against St. Peter's. Twelve of Charlotte's first 15 games will be at home.

Nonconference foes include Duke, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, N.C. State, Dallas Baptist and Missouri.

J.C. Smith added to football schedule


The 49ers have wrapped up their 2014 football schedule with a home game against Mecklenburg County rival Johnson C. Smith.

The 49ers and Golden Bulls will also play Sept. 6, 2014 at Charlotte; they will also play on Sept. 19, 2015, also at Charlotte.

The 49ers had to reschedule two games in 2014 to make room for Smith: Charlotte will open the season at Campbell on Aug. 28 (a Thursday night) and will host Old Dominion on Sept. 20.

So here's a look at the completed 2013 and '14 schedules.


Aug. 31: Campbell (FCS, Pioneer)
Sept. 7: Chowan (DII, CIAA)
Sept. 14: N.C. Central (FCS, MEAC)
Sept. 21: at Old Dominion (FCS, CAA)
Sept. 28: at Presbyterian (FCS, Big South)
Oct. 5: Gardner-Webb (FCS, Big South)
Oct. 12: UNC Pembroke (DII, independent)
Oct. 26: at Charleston Southern (FCS, Big South)
Nov. 2: at Coastal Carolina (FCS, Big South)
Nov. 9: North Greenville (DII, independent)
Nov. 23: at Morehead State (FCS, Pioneer)


Aug. 28: at Campbell (FCS, Pioneer)
Sept. 6: Johnson C. Smith (DII, CIAA)

Sept. 13: at N.C. Central (FCS, MEAC)
Sept. 20: Old Dominion (FCS, CAA)

Sept. 27: Charleston Southern (FCS, Big South)
Oct. 4: at Gardner-Webb (FCS, Big South)
Oct. 11: at The Citadel (FCS, Southern)
Oct. 25: Georgia Southern (FCS, Southern)
Nov. 1: at Western Carolina (FCS, Southern)
Nov. 8: Coastal Carolina (FCS, Big South)
Nov. 15: at Furman (FCS, Southern)
Nov. 22: Morehead State (FCS, Pioneer)

And here's what we know about schedules beyond that:
2015: Johnson C. Smith (TBA), Western Carolina (TBA), Presbyterian (Sept. 12), at Georgia Southern (Sept. 26).
2016: at Richmond (Sept. 10).
2017: Richmond (Sept. 9)

Then there are the games against FBS opponents. Charlotte will play at Virginia Tech in 2019 and the 49ers have been negotiating with Tennessee, as well.

-- The 2014 schedule is a challenging one for any FCS program, let alone one that will be in its second-season of existence. Johnson C. Smith will be the only DII team on the schedule (three are on the '13 schedule) and the 49ers will face four Southern Conference teams, including perennial national powers Georgia Southern and Furman, as well as the CAA's Old Dominion, which is in the FCS playoffs this season.

-- And if you think that building a program needs to take several years, think again. Old Dominion, in just its third year of existence, will face Georgia Southern on Saturday in a second-round FCS playoff game. The Monarchs (10-2) finished tied for second in the Colonial Athletic Association. ODU is 27-7 in its three seasons, playing schedules similar in scope to Charlotte's (although the 49ers' second-season schedule appears to be tougher than what the Monarchs faced in 2010).

Coastal Carolina, whom the 49ers play in '13 and '14, started football in 2003 and has already made two playoff appearances ('06 and '10).

-- And there will be nothing easy about the '13 game against North Greenville. The Crusaders are in the Division II quarterfinals this week, playing Delta (Miss.) State.

Monday, November 28, 2011

49ers-UConn set for Sunday

The 49ers' NCAA men's soccer tournament quarterfinal game at Connecticut will be played at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Charlotte is coming off a 1-0 victory Sunday against Akron in a third-round game; the third-seed Huskies beat James Madison 3-0.

UConn (19-3-2) beat Monmouth 2-1 in a second-round game after receiving a first-round bye. The 49ers (16-4-2) beat Furman and Alabama-Birmingham by identical 3-1 scores before eliminating the defending-champ Zips on Sunday at Transamerica Field.

The unseeded 49ers are one victory away from playing in their second College Cup in program history. Charlotte made it that far in 1996, losing a semifinal game against Florida International. This year's College Cup is Dec. 9 and 11 in Hoover, Ala.

Other Elite Eight games have top-seed North Carolina facing unseeded St. Mary's; No, 12 Louisville playing No. 13 UCLA; and No. 2 Creighton going against No. 7 South Florida.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

49ers advance to Elite 8

The 49ers, getting a goal midway through the first half from freshman Giuseppe Gentile, beat Akron 1-0 in a third-round NCAA men's soccer tournament game Sunday at Transamerica Field.

The victory sends unseeded Charlotte (16-4-2) into a quarterfinal game next weekend at No. 3-seed Connecticut, which beat James Madison 3-0 on Sunday. The game will be played either Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Announcement on that should come by Monday morning.

The loss ended the season for the unseeded Zips (15-4-4), who won last season's national championship and were a national finalist in 2009.

Gentile, a product of Charlotte's Ardrey Kell High who was the Atlantic 10's rookie of the year, scored in the game's 25th minute from an assist by Jennings Rex. It was his team-high ninth goal of the season.

Charlotte held Akron striker Darren Mattocks, who had 21 goals, goalless. But Mattocks nearly equalized in the 62nd minute when his point-blank header was turned away by goalkeeper Klay Davis.

The 49ers, who probably were playing their final home game of the season, are 9-0 at Transamerica Field this season and allowed just two goals.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Observations from East Tennessee

Observations from Charlotte's 70-69 loss against East Tennessee State on Tuesday:

-- Coach Alan Major has the flexibility to play the guys who are playing well, especially in the backcourt. That's why Derrio Green, who didn't score, played just 13 minutes. Deuce Briscoe consigned to the bench this season, played a season-high 25 minutes and made some big shots. Luka Voncina was in there for a steady 22 minutes.

-- The one constant in the backcourt has been freshman Pierria Henry, who played 22 minutes. He had a freshman-like line, scoring 13 points on four-of-eight shooting (three-of-five from 3-point range). He had five steals -- but also four turnovers. He always seems to be around the ball, for better or for worse sometimes.

-- Freshman Terrence Williams (West Mecklenburg High) played seven minutes and scored four points and grabbed a rebound. He was a factor when he was in there.

-- That game-winning 3-pointer by ETSU's Jarvis Jones was his only basket of the game. He's no stranger to game winners: He did the same thing two years ago against Lipscomb.

-- The 49ers don't return to Halton until Dec. 10, when Davidson visits. There are three road games between now and then -- Wright State on Saturday, East Carolina Dec. 3 and Radford Dec. 6.

Monday, November 21, 2011

49ers to host Akron

The 49ers will host the defending NCAA champion Akron Zips on Sunday at 7 p.m. at Transamerica Field in a third-round NCAA men's soccer tournament game.
Both teams are unseeded: the 49ers beat 11th-seed UAB 3-1 and the Zips edged SMU 3-2 in second-round games yesterday.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

49ers start fast, beat UAB 3-1

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Charlotte 49ers, scoring goals in the opening seconds of both halves, beat Alabama-Birmingham 3-1 in the second round of the NCAA men's soccer tournament Sunday night.

The 49ers will face defending champion Akron on Nov. 27 in a round of 16 game. The site hasn't yet been determined. The Zips beat SMU 3-2 Sunday.

Charlotte (15-4-2) scored 43 seconds into the game when Giuseppe Gentille broke down the left side and hit Evan James in front of the goal. James knocked it past Blazers goalie Carl Woszczynski and into the net.

The scored remained 1-0, until the 49ers scored nearly as quickly to open the second half. Jennings Rex broke behind the UAB defense and it was 2-0 at the 46:16 mark.

Charlotte made it 3-0 three minutes later when T.J. Beaulieu intercepted a sloppy Blazers pass and beat Woszcynski at the 49:24 mark.

UAB (13-5-3) made it 3-1 just a minute later when Chase Wickham scored.

The Blazers spent the rest of the game pressuring Charlotte's goal, but couldn't get it past Davis.

"It was 'shields-up' for us the rest of the way," said 49ers coach Jeremy Gunn.

Charlotte nearly made it 4-1 with about 12 minutes left when Bieulieu hit the post on a breakaway. Tyler Gibson missed on the rebound, hitting the ball high.

Said Blazers coach Mike Getman: "We obviously weren't ready to play the first minutes of each half. If it weren't for that, we'd still be out there playing."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lamar observations (from afar)

I wasn't at the 49ers' 72-54 at Lamar on Saturday, but here are a few observations from afar:

-- If there were any doubts how important Chris Braswell is to this team, they should be erased. Braswell, the 49ers' leading scorer and rebounder, missed the game with flu-like symptoms. Without him, the 49ers' thin front court was exposed. Lamar outrebounded Charlotte by a staggering 52-28. Osas Ebomwonyi, a 6-11 center, blocked six 49ers shots. The 49ers, incidentally, had no blocked shots.

Braswell isn't a physical force underneath, but he knows his way around the basket. Not saying the 49ers would have won with him in there -- there were obvious problems elsewhere -- but no way does Charlotte get pushed around like it did with Braswell in there.

-- The closest thing Charlotte has to a pure shooter is Javarris Barnett. So if he's off (he was one-for-six) and if Braswell isn't there, points are going to be hard to come by. The 49ers were 32.8 percent from the floor (they actually shot better from 3-point range at 36.4 percent).

-- Derrio Green is a good example of that. Green was five-of-nine from 3-point range, but missed all seven of his other shots. Green, incidentally, passed Byron Dinkins for 11th on Charlotte's all-time 3-point list on Saturday.

-- Coach Alan Major said on his post-game radio interview that Barnett (hip) and K.J. Sherrill (knee) are being bothered by minor injuries. Sherrill still has some soreness in his knee, which he injured in the preseason a year ago.

-- Deuce Briscoe has fallen to a distant third on the point-guard depth chart. He played five minutes Saturday, behind freshman starter Pierria Henry (27 minutes) and Luka Voncina (21).

-- Next up is a home game Tuesday against East Tennessee State and then three straight on the road (Wright State, East Carolina and Radford).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ill Braswell misses Lamar trip

49ers center Chris Braswell didn't travel with the team Friday because of flu-like symptoms, according to spokesman Tom Whitestone. It's unlikely Braswell could get to Beaumont, Texas, by Saturday's noon tipoff, even if he feels better. Braswell is averaging 20.5 points 11 rebounds through Charlotte's first two games.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

49ers women knock off Hokies

-- The 49ers women's team upped its record to 3-0 Wednesday with a 71-65 victory against the ACC's Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.

Guard Epiphany Woodson and forward Jai Forney both scored 21 for the 49ers. It was a career high for Woodson.

"It was not a great first 30 minutes by our team," said coach Cara Consuegra. "But ... we started sharing the ball. Epiphany played great down the stretch."

Consuegra also said that Forney's biggest contribution was the defense she played on Virginia Tech's Monet Tellier.

The 49ers play again Saturday against Elon at Halton Arena.

-- Charlotte's baseball team signed six players this week: Infielder Matt Creech (Colquitt, Ga., County); catcher Nick Daddio (Hough); left-hand pitcher Sean Geoghegan (Southwest Guilford); left-hand pitcher Jason Harris (Barton, Kan., Community College); right-hand pitcher Adam Huffman (Western Alamance); infielder Kory Shumate (Greensboro Grimsley).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Observations from Central Michigan

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- So the 49ers are off to a 2-0 start and play at Lamar (which is in Beaumont, Texas) on Saturday. Some observations on Tuesday's 77-75 double-overtime victory against Central Michigan:

-- The offense went in fits and starts, in large part because coach Alan Major is experimenting (and will continue to do so) with various backcourt combinations. He used just about every combo imaginable in the first half -- starting Pierria Henry with Derrio Green, then bringing in Luka Voncina and Deuce Briscoe to play with each other and with Henry and Green also. There some small lineups -- Henry, Voncina, Mayfield, Williams and Sherrill. And some big ones: Sherrill, Barnett, Braswell, Henry, Voncina. Major likes having options, but having so many means finding the right combinations might take time.

-- Not sure that Briscoe is comfortable with his role coming off the bench. Although he was aggressive with the ball, he was one-of-five shooting and had four turnovers and no assists in eight minutes of play in the first half. He didn't even play in the second half.

-- Major's first substitution brought in five players four minutes into the game. The starters came out for E.Victor Nickerson, Terrence Williams, Briscoe, Voncina and K.J. Sherrill. Just like that, a 12-0 lead vanished for the 49ers.

-- Sure Charlotte was five-of-29 from 3-point range (Major said Central Michigan's defense forced drive-and-dish plays). But one of those five was spectacular. Nickerson jumped for a long rebound in the corner and, as the shot clock wound down, turned and shot it before coming down. Swish. EVR bragged about it on Twitter after the game -- as well he should have.

-- Major, incidentally, did concede that the 29 3-pointers were probably too many after he saw the stat sheet.

-- Three players with double-doubles (Braswell, Barnett, Mayfield) is impressive, even if the come with the help of 10 extra minutes.

-- Green's free throw in the second overtime was the difference. He keeps making those kinds of plays despite having really tough shooting nights (he missed all eight of his 3s).

Monday, November 14, 2011

Wrapping up 49ers recruiting

49ers men's basketball coach Alan Major has wrapped up his third recruiting class, signing guard Shawn Lester and forward Willie Clayton last week and getting a verbal commitment from forward Darion Clark over the weekend.

If this season's freshman class is dominated by guards and/or wings -- Pierria Henry, Terrence Williams and E. Victor Nickerson -- designed to make the 49ers bigger on the perimeter, next year's new guys will be there to toughen up the interior.

It will be the final year for Chris Braswell and K.J. Sherrill and current freshman Mike Thorne will presumably be a year closer to contributing, so Clayton and Clark won't need to immediately be counted on.

But the 6-7 Clayton and 6-6 Clark are both known to be bruising inside forces -- at the high school level, yes -- but that's something that Braswell and Sherrill aren't known for. According to ESPN recruiting analyst Dave Telep, Clark had 20 rebounds in 28 minutes in a recent game.

Henry, a 6-3 point guard, already showed signs of toughness and a nose for the ball in the 49ers' season opener last week against N.C. Central. Transfer DeMario Mayfield also played with tremendous intensity.

You can never tell about recruiting until the players get to college, but it appears Major has established an early trend in what he wants.


49ers host Furman in NCAA soccer

The 49ers will host Furman in a first-round NCAA men's soccer tournament game at 7 p.m. Thursday at TransAmerica Field.

Charlotte (13-4-2) hasn't played since a first-round loss last week in the Atlantic 10 tournament to Xavier. The Paladins (14-3-4), who like the 49ers have been ranked nationally for much of the season, were upset in the semifinals of the Southern Conference tournament to eventual champion Elon.

Thursday's winner will travel to face 11th-seed Alabama-Birmingham on Sunday. Atlantic 10 champ Xavier is at West Virginia in a first-round game.

Other first-round NCAA tournament games involving Carolinas teams: Elon at Coastal Carolina; Wake Forest at South Carolina and Georgia State at Duke. The Elon-Coastal Carolina winner will play at No. 1-seed North Carolina on Sunday.

"This time of the year, we're excited to still be playing in the national tournament and I feel we thoroughly deserve the opportunity," said 49ers coach Jeremy Gunn. "We've played the toughest schedule we've had since I've been here and have the best record since I've been here. To earn the right to host a first-round NCAA game has us over the moon."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Observations from N.C. Central

-- Last season, coach Alan Major would look to his bench and often see one or two scholarship players available and a couple of walk-ons. In Friday's 73-57 season-opening victory against N.C. Central, Major used nine players, seven of whom played at least 17 minutes. After the game, Major was apologetic about not getting more guys more playing time.

-- Here's what three of the new players are going to bring this season: Freshman point guard Pierria Henry -- toughness on the perimeter and a nose for the ball; small forward DeMario Mayfield -- energy and a surprisingly good shooting touch; freshman forward E. Victor Nickerson -- the ability to knife through the basket to the rim.

-- Central coach LeVelle Moton saw all those 3-pointers the 49ers made in an exhibition last week against Belmont Abbey and figured they'd try to duplicate that. "We wanted to guard the 3-point line and make them make tough 2's," said Moton. "That was the game plan."

-- If Charlotte's next foe Central Michigan is familiar to some long-time 49ers fans, it's because Charlotte beat the Chippewas in the first round of the 1977 NCAA tournament on the way to the Final Four. That was the 49ers' first-ever NCAA tournament victory. Central Michigan will no doubt be looking for some payback Tuesday in Mount Pleasant (if anyone remembers).

-- Charlotte plays five of its next six games on the road. A game Nov. 22 at Halton against East Tennessee State is the only home game in that stretch.

-- N.C. Central's Dominique Sutton (a transfer from Kansas State) put on the one of the worst displays of free-throw shooting imaginable. He missed his first 10, then finally hit one to go one-of-11.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Consuegra signs first recruiting class

First-year women's basketball coach Cara Consuegra has signed four players in her first recruiting class: Center Alexis Alexander of Atlanta; guard Victoria Carter of Atlanta; guard Kira Gordon of Kennesaw Mountain, Ga.; and guard Shequana Harris of the Bronx, N.Y.

Alexander is a 6-1 center who averaged 14.7 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks as a junior. Carter (5-8) averaged 7.8 points and three assists. Gordon is a 6-foot-0 guard averaged 14.9 points and 12.1 rebounds. Harris (5-6) averaged 13 points, four assists and three steals and was a second-team all-city selection. 

Willie Clayton signs with 49ers

Power forward Willie Clayton signed his letter-of-intent with the 49ers this morning.

Clayton, who is 6-7, joins Mooresville shooting guard Shawn Lester in Charlotte's 2012 recruiting class.

"I can't wait to come in and be a 49er," Clayton said a few minutes after he signed. "Charlotte really made me feel comfortable. All my future teammates, the coaches, were all great. I want to help get them back on track and win some Atlantic 10 championships."

Clayton will give the 49ers an added presence inside.

"I like to play with my back to the basket, and mix it up," he said.

The 49ers might not be done in the early-signing period. They're also in the hunt for another power forward, 6-7 Darion Clark of Oak Hill (Va.) Academy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lester signs with 49ers

The 49ers announced on Wednesday they had signed Mooresville High's Shawn Lester.

Lester, a 6-3 shooting guard, averaged 18.0 points, 5.0 assists and 5.0 steals for the Blue Devils last season.

"It's great to have another local kid from the Charlotte region," said coach Alan Major.

Another 49ers commitment, power forward Willie Clayton of Thomasville, Ga., will sign Thursday morning, according to his coach Ben Tillman. The 49ers also are reportedly in the running for forward Darion Clark of Oak Hill (Va.) Academy.

49ers get a quarterback

Do the Charlotte 49ers have their quarterback of the future?

Karsten Miller, a quarterback from North Davidson High in Lexington, said Wednesday he has verbally committed to the 49ers' football program, which begins play in 2013.

Miller, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior, missed most of this season with a broken leg. But he was the Central Piedmont 4A's player of the year in 2010 when he accounted for 27 touchdowns for the Knights.

"Charlotte's the only place I wanted to go," said Miller. "A lot of people told me I should sit on (the decision), but this was my first choice all along."

Miller, who said he also received interest from schools including Wake Forest, Louisville and Gardner-Webb, said the 49ers didn't come close to backing off their scholarship offer after his injury. The 49ers made their offer to Miller in May.

"They kept calling me, saying I was still their guy through the whole (rehab) process," said Miller. "I remember them calling me one time when I had a bunch of medicine in me. I was saying all kinds of crazy stuff to them."

49ers radio network broadens

The Charlotte 49ers radio network has expanded for the 2011-12 men's basketball season. In addition to flagship to Charlotte's WZGV-AM (730), all Charlotte games will be carried on WRJD-AM (1410) in Durham. Selected games will be carried on WZGM-AM (1350) in Black Mountain and WLON-AM (1050) in Lincolnton.

Long-time 49ers play-by-play ace Matt Swierad will be joined by WZGV's Lanny Ford for color commentary on many home games.

WZVG will also air "The Alan Major Show" from 7-8 p.m. on Mondays, hosted by Swierad and Ford at Wild Wing Cafe in the University area.

Briscoe an off-the-bench scoring threat?

Noting the 49ers:

-- Men's basketball coach Alan Major doesn't want to divulge his starting lineup for Friday's season opener against N.C. Central, but don't expect it to be different from last week's group that started against Belmont Abbey in a preseason exhibition.

That means that freshman Pierria Henry will again start at point guard ahead of junior Jamar Briscoe, last season's starter.

Major said there are so many potential combinations in the backcourt that it might mean Briscoe ends up playing more minutes that Henry (Henry played 18 minutes against the Crusaders, Briscoe 17).

"It's like football players like Darren Sproles or Reggie Bush," said Major. "They can do so many things that it's hard to keep them off the field. I think that's what (Briscoe) can create for himself. He's got these great instincts, and an ability I love that he can come off the bench with some real scoring punch."

Briscoe was the nation's second-leading freshman scorer three years ago at N.C. Central.

The 49ers, incidentally, are practicing in the mornings this season (from 7:45 a.m. to around 10) to accommodate players' class schedules.

-- 49ers forward Jennifer Hailey has missed recent practice time due to a concussion, but women's basketball coach Cara Consuegra is hopeful she'll be able to play in the 49ers' season opener Friday against Presbyterian. Hailey has been cleared to practice.

-- Charlotte's men's soccer team is in the enviable position of not needing to win this week's Atlantic 10 tournament in St. Louis to gain a berth in the NCAA tournament. The third-seed 49ers (13-3-2), who play defending champ Xavier on Thursday, have an RPI of 9, which should already guarantee them a spot, no matter what happens in St. Louis. The 49ers are also ranked 12th in this week's Soccer America poll.

Gentile named A-10 rookie of year

49ers freshman forward Giuseppe Gentile has been named the Atlantic 10 men's soccer rookie of the year, while three of his teammates made the A-10's first-team all-conference team.

Gentile, who played at Ardrey Kell High, has seven goals and an assist for the 12th-ranked 49ers (13-3-2), who open play Thursday in the conference tournament against Xavier in St. Louis.

Senior forward Evan James, sophomore midfielder Tyler Gibson and senior defender Charles Rodriguez made the all-A-10 first team. Gentile and junior midfielder Donnie Smith were second-team selections.

Gibson and sophomore midfielder Aidan Kirkbride were named to the league's all-academic team.

Offensive player of the year is Duquesne's Joshua Patterson; defender of the year is Fordham's Ryan Meara; midfielder of the year is George Washington's Yoni Berhanu and coach of the year is George Washington's George Lidster.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

49ers to face X in A-10 soccer quarters

The third-seed Charlotte 49ers will face No. 6 Xavier (10-4-3) in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament Thursday in St. Louis. Charlotte (13-3-2, 6-1-2) had 20 points and finished behind co-regular-season champs Fordham (11-6, 7-2) and George Washington (9-6-2, 7-2), which both had 21 points.

Thursday’s other quarterfinal has No. 4 Temple (9-9, 5-4) facing No. 5 La Salle (6-8-4, 4-2-3). The semifinals are Friday and the championship is set for 1 p.m. Sunday.

Charlotte beat Xavier 1-0 earlier this season.

Friday, November 4, 2011

49ers women play exhibition against JCSU

The 49ers women's basketball team plays a preseason exhibition Saturday at 7 p.m. against Johnson C. Smith at Halton Arena.

The 49ers, who advanced to last season's Women's NIT semifinals, will be playing under first-year coach Cara Consuegra, who comes to Charlotte from Marquette, where she was an assistant.

Charlotte won a school-record 27 games last season and returns three starters. Guard Epiphany Woodson was chosen to the preseason all-Atlantic 10 first-team and forward Jen Hailey made the second team.

The 49ers open the regular season next Friday at Halton against Presbyterian as part of a doubleheader with the men's game against N.C. Central.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Vols next for 49ers football?

49ers football coach Brad Lambert gave a speech Thursday, during which he said Charlotte would be playing FBS teams in the future like Virginia Tech (which we knew) and Tennessee (which we didn't know).

No contracts have been signed yet by the two schools. But if Lambert said it (or let it slip), he probably knows something, right? Look for something to be announced soon, probably for the 2018 season. Charlotte is already scheduled to play at Virginia Tech in 2019.

The 49ers' 2014 schedule is about to be finalized with a 12th game. Expect it to be against a Division II school not too far from Charlotte's campus.

Observations from Belmont Abbey victory

Observations on the 49ers' 104-52 exhibition victory Thursday against Belmont Abbey:

-- The reason freshman Pierria Henry started ahead of Deuce Briscoe at point guard is because Henry is 6-3 and Briscoe is 5-10. Coach Alan Major wants more height on the defensive perimeter. Whether that's permanent, we'll see.

-- Coach Alan Major put all the new players to work. Eleven players played double-figure minutes (yes, it was a blowout against an overmatched DII team).

-- Worried about all those 3s the 49ers were taking (they made 17 of 29 and didn't make a two-point basket until seven minutes remained in the first half)? Don't be, because, A) Belmont Abbey was guarding anybody out there and, B) they were going in. Javarris Barnett was six-of-seven for 24 points and Derrio Green was four-of-seven for 12.

-- Transfer DeMario Mayfield and Henry look like they'll be the kind of athletic players that haven't been seen around Halton for a few years. E. Victor Nickerson also has a smooth, polished game that will improve when he puts on a few pounds. Two other freshmen, Mike Thorne and Terrence Williams, also had their moments. Thorne blocked two shots and Williams was 2-of-3 from the field.

-- The noseguards worn by Henry and Luka Voncina were to protect broken noses they suffered in practice recently. Mayfield also took stitches in his chin during one practice.

-- Season opener is next Friday against N.C. Central. Briscoe played at Central as a freshman in 2008-09 before transferring to Charlotte. He was the nation's second-leading freshman scorer behind Liberty's Seth Curry, who's now at Duke.

49ers-Belmont Abbey: What to watch for

 A few things to watch for in tonight's Charlotte-Belmont Abbey men's basketball exhibition at Halton Arena (7 p.m.):

-- The new guys -- there are a lot of them. Charlotte's three freshmen guards --  Pierria Henry, E. Victor Nickerson and Terrence Williams -- are going to be counted on for early contributions this season. Henry, especially, might have the best chance for major minutes. He's a physical player and loves to play defense ("A beast," according to senior guard Derrio Green.

-- Another freshman, big man Mike Thorne, is a "big hunk of clay," according to coach Alan Major. The 6-9 Thorne spends a lot of time before practice with assistant coach Ryan Odom working on his skills.

-- Biggest impact by a new player, I'd think, will be wing DeMario Mayfield, a transfer from Georgia. Although he didn't play last season (per NCAA regulations), he has a year of practicing Major's system under his belt. Although right now the starting lineup would appear to be Chris Braswell (center), K.J. Sherrill (power forward), Javarris Barnett (small forward), Green (shooting guard) and Deuce Briscoe (point guard), Mayfield could crack that.

-- Major says he's got "3 1/2 point guards" -- Briscoe, Henry, Luka Voncina and Green (the half).

-- If the 49ers beat the Division II Crusaders, it will be for the first time. OK, so it's not an official game, but Belmont Abbey is 8-0 against Charlotte (they last played in 1969).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's McColl-Richardson Field

When the Charlotte 49ers play their first football game in their on-campus stadium in 2013, they'll do so on McColl-Richardson Field.

The school announced Tuesday the football field will be named for two Charlotte business and sports icons -- Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl.

"Can you think of two people more associated with the development of Charlotte over the last 30 years?" said UNC Charlotte chancellor Phil Dubois. "I can't imagine finding two better."

49ers athletics director Judy Rose wouldn't reveal how much money Richardson and McColl have contributed to the program. The school is valuing the naming rights on the field at $2.5 million, and Rose said Richardson and McColl's donations put the program "well on our way toward that."

The school also is selling naming rights to the 15,000-seat stadium (which began construction in April) for $5 million.

"With their names going on the field, other (potential sponsors) will say, 'Gosh, look at the names they have associated with this school," said Rose. "They add tremendous value and credibility to our program."

When Richardson first considered bringing NFL football to the Carolinas in 1987, McColl was the first person whose advice he sought.

"We haven't failed on a lot of things we've tried to do together," said McColl. "So I doubt we will on this, either."