Monday, December 22, 2014

Charlotte 49ers' Woods C-USA's freshman of week

Charlotte 49ers guard Keyshawn Woods has been named Conference USA's freshman of the week.

Woods, who played at Northside Christian, averaged 13.7 points as the 49ers went 2-1 last week. He is the second Charlotte player to win the league's top freshman award (Torin Dorn won a few weeks ago).

The 49ers (6-5) are off until Dec. 30, when they play at Georgia Tech.

Friday, December 12, 2014

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

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

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

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

Statement from chancellor Phil Dubois on 49ers baseball hazing investigation

Statement Friday from UNCC chancellor Phil Dubois:

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

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Charlotte 49ers looking to UAB for transfers

Here's a Charlotte 49ers football recruiting update:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 21, 2014

Baseball operations temporarily halted, players suspended in hazing investigation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Charlotte 49ers vs. Newberry: What to watch for

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Charlotte 49rs QB Johnson week-to-week

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lester leaving Charlotte 49ers to turn pro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Charlotte 49ers coaches Major, Consuegra talk hoops; Madness is Thursday

Charlotte's Basketball Madness is set for 9 p.m. Thursday at Halton Arena. This year's event will be hosted by 49ers alum Jesse Garber, with dunks and other activities on the schedule. The first 400 students will receive a 49ers rally towel. Students will also try out their new end zone seating sections.


Charlotte 49ers basketball coaches Cara Consuegra and Alan Major held a joint news conference Tuesday. Here are excerpts:


Thoughts on practice so far:

“We’re working hard on team chemistry, leadership skills and the ability to be great teammates. We’re starting to see that payoff in how we get along on the court.

“But, basketball, we’ve got a ways to go. We’re still pretty young. We have four returners back that I feel pretty confident about, but it’s going to be really important for us to have them leading the way with their game experience.

“After that, we drop off a lot. The challenge for us as a team is to get everybody body on the same page. Get the players in the post, where I’m worried about our depth, get them up to speed quickly.

“We don’t have time to start slowly. Our goal is the postseason, particularly the NCAA tournament. In the women’s game, you have to win games early. There’s not a lot of time for us to worry about inexperience, we have to get up to speed and get going.

“But I’ll take that. We can teach Xs and Os and strategy, but it’s a great thing not to have to teach effort and attitude.

“When I speak in terms of inexperience, it doesn’t mean a lack of skill or ability. A lot of our young kids have great skill and ability, they just don’t have game readiness.

“I’m pretty excited about our freshman Griffin Dempsey, who has the ability to be the starting point guard for us. But she is still earning that role. But if you watched us in practice, it would be hard to point out that this is her first time as a collegiate point guard. She’s hit the floor running. She has a quick understanding of what we’re trying to do. She has a great IQ for the game.”

On playing in a tournament in Cancun, Mexico:

“This is a good opportunity for our student-athletes to have that they may never have had. It’s part of my responsibility that it’s not just about basketball. It’s about giving opportunities to our young ladies and we’re fortunate to have that.”

Prediction for the season?

“One of our core principles is to embrace the process. I would be going completely against that principle if I were to talk about where we’ll be in March. It’s not what we believe in or focus on.”


On practice so far:

“There are four things we have that I’m really excited about: experience, depth, character, length and size – we have versatility with that.

“We’re trying to establish our defensive intensity and offensive aggression slash patience – to understand how they mix and how they work together.”

“There’s a ton of encouragement in the gym, even in competitive situations. They’re dapping up, giving high fives – we won, you lost, we get a drink, you run. But there’s a lot of encouragement.”

On front court depth:

“With Mike (Thorne) and Willie (Clayton), it’s always good to have players who have been in the fire. Willie’s had one more year. Mike made that jump last year, now he has to match that jump and that’s more difficult. Now you throw in a hybrid, like Bernard (Sullivan) and Terrance (Williams), and they can play with Mike and Willie together or separately.

“Cameron (Blakley) made strides over the summer. He trusts more what he’s doing and is shooting the ball better.  He’s sustaining his ability to compete after his freshman season.

“With these five guys, we have pieces there that can go in a lot of different directions.”

The backcourt:

“It’s great to have a guy like Pierria (Henry) who triggers it all with all the guys between. Terrence is at the back end of all the perimeter guys. He can play inside and out. The big thing we’ve told all the guys is the ability to play with great speed and control, to take care of the ball, make open shots and defend your position. We’ve got some versatility back there.”

On freshman Keyshawn Woods:

“He was coached so well in high school by Byron Dinkins, a former 49ers legend. I give him a ton of credit on how well he developed him. He’s still learning and going through development, but he came in with a lot ingrained. He handles the ball well, has a good feel for the game, makes open shots and defends his position. He had a strong, good summer physically.

“He’ll go through some bumpy times at the beginning.”

Will he play point or shooting guard?

“He’ll be a guard. That’s we told him when we recruited him. I’m not taking a number out of my pocket and sticking it on your forehead. Over your four years here, your skill will define your position. He’s a combo, with skills for the point. He’s an all-around solid basketball player.”

What was the root of the problem last season, when the team struggled during conference play after winning the tournament in Puerto Rico?

“We coach humility, and I feel like we lost a part of that after Puerto Rico. But you’ve got to have some of that to learn. It’s hard. You don’t wake up and roll out of bed and be an outstanding team. It takes time. It’s a process. Part of our humility process was coming out of Puerto Rico and things not going so well.

“We can manage our success if we maintain our humility. That was a good lesson from last year.”

The nonconference schedule:

“It’s probably as challenging as we’ve had. We have some games on the road, at Elon, at Davidson, at George Washington and at Georgetown and Georgia Tech. So nonconference, we’re going to be tested for sure.

“We open with Penn State at Charleston, and if we’re fortunate enough to get to the championship game against Miami, we could face Miami again in 48 hours in our home opener.”

Turnovers were a consistent problem last season. What’s being done about that?

“The work comes more in a team setting. You can work on ball handling over the summer, but once you get in a group, you have more of an understanding of where the ball is supposed to go.

“Sometimes you make the right play and the defender is doing his job. Sometimes the offense makes the wrong play and the defense didn’t do anything at all.

“But everybody knows in practice what their turnover-assist ratio is on a daily basis. If it’s negative, you always know in practice where that’s coming from.

“It’s a big focus for us. We’ve always been a pretty good offensive rebounding team, and we’ve been able to get some of those possessions back because of that. Now we want to cut down the turnovers and still maintain the offensive rebounding. We can get some separation in those possessions.”

On Pierria Henry’s development:

“I’m very proud of his ability to communicate because a point guard or quarterback is an art form. He knows what his teammates’ buttons are. It’s like delivering the mail: some like the mail in the front door, through the slot. Some say to wrap it around a brick and throw it and throw it through the front window. Other guys say keep in the box out in the street, I’ll get it later. Every mailman knows how the mail is delivered.

“Mike Thorne wants his news and information given to him this way; Keyshawn Woods wants it that way.

“Pierria has done such a great job of learning how to do that since his freshman year. His experience, and he’s a warrior, he does so many things that are contagious. Anytime your point guard is your most experienced player, I feel like that can be an advantage.

Is the NCAA tournament the goal?

“It’s realistic and it’s our goal every year without a doubt. We’d be cheating our kids and staff if we sights any lower.

“But I’m probably more consumed with how I want things to be than what the outcome is. I’m more consumed with how we are every day.

“I tell them the best teams do the next right thing. If it’s about practice, the next right thing is to have a great practice. If it’s class, the next right thing is to go in, sit down, take your hat off, put your cell phone in the bag, be attentive and listen.

“If it’s community service, it might be putting your hand on the forehead of a kid who might be dying from cancer. Be thankful you get about $118,000 worth of scholarship, gear, hotels and food each year.

“The next right thing plays out in every fact of your life. The best teams, how they end up, string together a whole bunch of days of doing the next right thing.

“You’ve got to act like a champion before you become one. You’re not entitled or owed anything. It’s earned and it’s a steep price to pay.

"That said, we’d love to part of that. To be in the tournament is something we want. I know this sounds like coach-speak, but it’s important to do the right thing and stay on the rails.”

Friday, October 17, 2014

Charlotte 49ers getting help for basketball ticket sales

Facing steadily declining attendance in men’s basketball, the Charlotte 49ers announced Friday they are partnering with IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions.

The IMG ticket staff will have an office in Halton Arena, where it will work with the 49ers athletic department in an effort to increase attendance and ticket sales.

The 49ers’ average attendance last season was 5,190, the lowest in Halton’s 18-year history. Attendance has dropped steadily since the 2007-08 season, when Charlotte averaged 7,312 fans.

After the season, Charlotte chancellor Phil Dubois acknowledged the attendance problem.

“Attendance waxes and wanes,” Dubois told the Observer in March. “You’ve got to win to get attendance. It’s a matter of winning games and generating excitement.”
The 49ers, who have not been to the NCAA tournament since 2005, were 17-14 last season, their third straight winning season under coach Alan Major. They are picked to finish third in Conference USA this season.

IMG College has been handling Charlotte’s multimedia and sponsorship rights since 2011. The 49ers have also been using IMG’s ticket division for their fledgling football program. Charlotte had an average attendance of 15,541 in 15,314-seat Richardson Stadium in its inaugural season of 2014. The 49ers are averaging 15,186 in their two home games this season.

“This partnership will help us continue to build on our strong tradition of basketball while developing our football presence across the region and nation,” 49ers athletics director Judy Rose said in a statement. “The experience they bring will be extremely beneficial to both current and future 49ers fans.”



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Charlotte 49ers chosen 3rd in C-USA preseason poll; Henry all-conference

The Charlotte 49ers, who return four starters from last season's team that went 17-14, have been picked to finish third in the Conference USA men's basketball race by the league's coaches.

Charlotte guard Pierria Henry also made the 10-player preseason all-conference team. Henry was the only player in C-USA last season to average double figures in points (12.3) and more than five rebounds (5.1) and assists (5.8).

Louisiana Tech and Texas-El Paso were chosen to finish ahead of Charlotte, with Old Dominion the coaches' pick to finish fourth.

Preseason all-conference team:
Charlotte: Pierria Henry, Sr. G
Louisiana Tech: Raheem Appleby, Sr., G; Alex Hamilton, Jr., G; Kenneth "Speedy" Smith, Sr., G.
Old Dominion: Aaron Bacote, Jr., G.
Alabama-Birmingham: C.J. Washington, Jr. G.
Texas-El Paso: Vince Hunter, F, Soph.; Julian Washburn, Sr., F/G.
Western Kentucky: George Fant, Sr., F; T.J. Price, Sr., G.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

'Dig Pink' volleyball campaign underway for Charlotte 49ers

-- The Charlotte 49ers’ volleyball team, perennially a national leader in the “Dig Pink” breast cancer campaign, is hoping to raise more than $10,000 for the cause this month.

The 49ers, who have led the nation in fundraising two of the past three years, will host their “Dig Pink” match Oct. 10 against Florida International at Halton Arena, as well as several other events over the next few weeks.

-- Basketball practice begins next week: the 49ers women on Tuesday, the men Wednesday. The men's season opens Nov. 16 at Elon, with an exhibition Nov. 11 at Halton against Newberry; the women open Nov. 14 at Liberty, with a Nov. 5 exhibition against Catawba.

-- The 49ers’ men’s soccer team didn’t hurt its national rankings with a 3-1 victory against William & Mary on Tuesday night at Transamerica Field. Heading into the game, Charlotte’s RPI was seventh, while the 49ers were ranked 10th by the NCSAA, 12th by College Soccer Weekly and 16th by Soccer America. Defender Nick Barnhorst was named to’s team of the week for his assist and defensive work in a 2-0 victory against New Mexico. The 49ers (6-1) have won five in a row.

Next up for coach Kevin Langan’s team is a tough swing through South Carolina, with a Conference USA game Saturday at South Carolina and a contest next Tuesday against Clemson.

-- 49ers women’s soccer player Martha Thomas also made Top Drawer’s team of the week. She scored twice in the 49ers’ 2-1 victory Sunday at FIU. Thomas leads Charlotte with six goals and assists. The 49ers (4-4-1, 1-1 C-USA) play Marshall on Friday at Transamerica Field.

-- Charlotte’s baseball team will practice at Gastonia’s Sims Park on Thursday and Friday. Phillips Field in Hayes Stadium is being over-seeded, forcing the move. Both practices (Thursday 4-8 p.m.; Friday 1:30-5 p.m.) are free and open to the public.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Charlotte 49ers' Trickett out for season with knee injury

Charlotte 49ers junior Monica Trickett, Conference USA's women's soccer preseason defender of the year, will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.

Trickett hurt her knee in practice last week. It's the third time she's injured her knee, one coming earlier in her career at Charlotte, the other in high school in Raleigh.

Trickett was a second-team all-conference pick in 2013 and also made the league's all-tournament team. She was a preseason first-team all-conference pick for this season.

The 49ers (1-3-1) play their first home game of the season at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Winthrop at TransAmerica Field.

Friday, September 12, 2014

49ers men's basketball team paints for charity

Photo courtesy of Charlotte 49ers sports information

Members of the Charlotte 49ers men's basketball team spent Friday morning helping paint the interior of a home in the university area as part of the Purple Heart Homes Charity, an organization that adapts and remodels homes for disabled veterans. Players and staff put several coats of paint on rooms inside the home.

For more information on the Purple Heart Homes Charity:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

49ers host Coastal in men's soccer Friday; Hammonds signs pro contract

A few 49ers news items:

Men's soccer

The 49ers men's soccer team gets a stern early season test Friday, hosting ninth-ranked Coastal Carolina at 7 p.m. at Transamerica Field. The Chanticleers (1-1) have beaten then-seventh ranked Connecticut 3-2 and lost to No. 7 Maryland 3-2 on the road.

The 21st-ranked 49ers (1-0) won their season open on Sunday, beating Radford 2-1 despite playing a man down after defender Nick Barnhorst was issued a red card for a hand ball in the penalty area.

The Chanticleers ended Charlotte's 2013 season with a 1-0 victory in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Charlotte beat Coastal Carolina in an earlier regular-season game 2-1 in Conway, S.C. One of the Chanticleers' top players is senior striker Ricky Garbanzo, who played at Rock Hill's Northwestern High. Garbanzo scored the game-winning goal against UConn.

Charlotte's volleyball team (3-2) will play in the Temple Invitational this weekend. The women's soccer team (1-2) is at Liberty on Thursday night.

Women's basketball

Former 49ers point guard Ny Hammonds has signed a pro contract with Lithuania's Kibirkstis-VICI. Hammonds, who played at Concord High, was a second-team all-Conference USA selection last season and is Charlotte's career assists leader with 496. She is the third player under coach Cara Consuegra to play professionally, joining Amanda Dowe and Jennifer Hailey, who are also playing abroad.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Charlotte 49ers men's basketball open against Elon; also faces Georgetown

Two games at Washington’s Verizon Center – against Georgetown and George Washington – highlight the Charlotte 49ers’ men’s basketball nonconference schedule.

The 49ers will face the Hoyas on Dec. 20 and former Atlantic 10 rivals Colonials on Dec. 7.

Charlotte opens its season Nov. 16 at Elon and begins its 18-game Conference USA schedule Jan. 4 against Old Dominion at Halton Arena.

Georgetown was 18-15 last season and lost in the second round of the NIT to Florida State. The game is the first of a home and home agreement between the schools, with the second to be played next season at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte.

George Washington went 24-9 and was one of six Atlantic 10 teams to play in the NCAA tournament, losing to Memphis in the second round.

The 49ers’ home schedule includes a visit from Miami on Nov. 25.

Charlotte will also play in the Charleston Classic Nov. 20-23, opening with a game against Penn State.

The 49ers play their annual game against Davidson for the Hornets Nest Trophy on Dec. 3 at the Wildcats’ Belk Arena. Charlotte also plays at Georgia Tech on Dec. 30.

Other home games include Appalachian State, College of Charleston and N.C. A&T. The 49ers also visit UNC Asheville.

Charlotte 49ers 2014-15 men's basketball schedule:

Nov. 11, Newberry (exh.); 16, at Elon; Nov. 20-23, at Charleston Classic; 26, Miami; 30, at UNC Asheville.

Dec. 3, at Davidson; 7, at George Washington (Verizon Center); 16, College of Charleston; 18, Appalachian State; 20, at Georgetown (Verizon Center); 30, at Georgia Tech.

Jan. 4, Old Dominion; 8, at Western Kentucky; 10, at Marshall; 15, North Texas; 17, Rice; 22, at Ala.-Birmingham; 24, at Middle Tennessee; 29, Florida Atlantic; 31, Florida International.

Feb. 4, N.C. A&T; 7, at Old Dominion; 12, at Texas-El Paso; 14, at Texas-San Antonio; 19, Louisiana Tech; 21, Southern Mississippi; 26, at North Texas; 28, at Rice.

March, 5, Western Kentucky; 7, Marshall; 11-14, C-USA tournament (at Birmingham, Ala.).



Monday, August 25, 2014

Former star pitcher Maine joins 49ers baseball staff

Former 49ers pitcher John Maine has been added to the baseball coaching staff as a volunteer assistant.

Maine, a former Conference USA pitcher of the year for Charlotte, had a major league career that included stops with the New York Mets, Baltimore Orioles and Miami Marlins. Maine won 41 games over his eight-year career, a highlight coming when he won Game 6 of the 2006 NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Maine is the latest of a few former 49ers athletes who have joined Charlotte coaching staffs recently. Mikel Hunter is a football grad assistant; Owen Darby is men's soccer director of operations; and Colby Lewis was promoted from graduate manager to assistant director of operations.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Charlotte 49ers release 2-deep depth chart

The 49ers released their two-deep depth chart Wednesday. Nothing much surprising here as the 49ers prepare to open the season Aug. 28 at Campbell, but a few observations:

 -- It looks like juco transfer Branden Dozier has overtaken Ardy Holmes for one of the safety spots. Holmes has been slowed by an injury, but figures to get plenty of playing time at what is a deep position.

-- Austin Duke and Corey Nesmith will handle the kickoff return duties and Nesmith will return punts. Freshman Arthur Hart looks like he’ll punt.

-- There are a couple of true freshmen listed as backups – receivers Juwan Foggie and T.L. Ford and corner Tre’Shun Wynn. The goal for coach Brad Lambert will be to redshirt the remainder of this freshman class, although running back Maetron Thomas might play depending on when a shoulder injury heals.

-- Sophomore cornerback Devin Pearson and sophomore linebacker Justin Bridges-Thompson aren’t listed, which means they will likely be redshirted.
-- The average weight of the offensive line starters is a hefty 307 pounds.


WR:               9 DMARJAI DEVINE                       6-3 210 Sr.
                      84 Juwan Foggie                                6-2 190 Fr.

WR:              81 TRENT BOSTICK                          6-1 195 So.
                      89 T.L. Ford                                         6-3 175 Fr.

LT:               73 JAMAL COVINGTON                   6-4 295 R-So.
                      78 Kyle Hoffman                                6-4 255 R-So.

LG:              70 CASEY PERRY                               6-2 335 R-So.
                     77  Wolfgang Zacherl                         6-4 285 So.

C:                 74 THOMAS LA BIANCA                  6-3 295 R-So.
                    50 Jarred Barr                                      6-3 290 R-So.

RG:             76 DANIEL BLITCH                            6-6 320 R-Sr.
                    55  Mason Sledge                                 6-3 295 R-So.

RT:             68 DANNY BOOK                                6-6 275 R-Jr.
                    75 Eugene German                              6-4 290 R-Fr.

H:               15 JUSTIN BOLUS                               6-3 220 R-So.
                    85  Richard Murphy                            6-3 230 Jr.

SR:              10 AUSTIN DUKE                               5-9 152 R-So.
                     2 Will Thomas                                      6-0 170 R-So.

RB:             25 KALIF PHILLIPS                            5-11 185 So.
                   32 Damarrell Alexander                      5-10 165 R-Jr.

QB:             8 MATT JOHNSON                             6-3 230 R-So.
                    5 Lee McNeill                                        6-1 200 R-So.


DE:             99 BRANDON BANKS                        6-2 270 R-So.
                    11 Mark Pettit                                       6-4 230 R-So.

NT:             65 LARRY OGUNJOBI                       6-2 275 R-So
                   97 Tanner Fleming                               6-2 275 R-So.

DE:            92 JAMES MIDDLETON                     6-4 265 R-So.
                   91 Nick Carroll                                       6-5 235 R-Fr.
                   or 95 Devin Clegg                                  6-4 235 R-So.

OLB:         34 NICO ALCALDE                               6-2 205 R-So.
                  24 Daquan Lucas                                    5-10 210 R-So.

ILB:          6 NICK COOK                                         6-1 220 Jr.
                  50 Karrington King                                5-11 215 R-Fr.

ILB:         42 CALEB CLAYTON-MOLBY             6-2 240 Sr.
                 58 Dustin Crouser                                   6-2 230 R-Fr.

OLB:        7 JALEN HOLT                                       6-4 200 R-So.
                43 Tyler DeStefani                                   6-4 210 R-Sr.

CB:          14 TANK NORMAN                                5-11 190 R-So.
                  5 Tre’Shun Wynn                                   6-0 175 Fr.

S:              13 DESMOND COOPER                       6-2 210 R-Sr.
                 21  Prince Mayela                                    5-10 170 R-So.

S:              3 BRANDEN DOZIER                           6-0 195 Jr.
                 8 Ardy Holmes                                        5-9 190 R-Jr.

CB:         28 GREG CUNNINGHAM JR.               6-2 185 R-So.
                27 Terrance Winchester                          6-0 170 R-So.


K:              86 BLAKE BREWER                             6-1 200 So.
                  69 Stephen Muscarello                         5-11 195 R-So.

P:               40 ARTHUR HART                              6-2 185 Fr.
                  37 Hayden Pezzoni                                5-9 160 R-So.

LS:            48 KEASTON SINICKI                        6-0 235 So.
                  64 Brian McDonough                           5-9 190 Fr.

KR:           10 AUSTIN DUKE                                  5-9 160 R-So.
                  4 COREY NESMITH                             5-9 185 R-So.
                  32 Demarrel Alexander                        5-10 165 R-Jr.
                   5 Tre’Shun Wynn                                  6-0 175 Fr.

PR:            4 COREY NESMITH                             5-9 185 R-So.
                   10 Austin Duke                                      5-9 160 R-So

 HLD:        5 LEE MCNEILL                                    6-1 200 R-SO.

RB Gainey to have MRI on knee; Gentile returns Wednesday night

49ers news, notes:

-- Running back Donjore Gainey is having an MRI Thursday on an injured knee. With true freshman Maetron Thomas nursing a sore shoulder, junior Damarrell Alexander will likely open the season as the backup to Kalif Phillips. Alexander gained 280 yards last season with an average of 6.8 yards per carry. He scored on a 51-yard run against Morehead State, a game in which he gained 101 yards.

-- Coach Brad Lambert said he’s pretty sure Thomas and true freshmen receivers T.L. Ford and Juwon Foggie will not redshirt this season.

-- Cook (hamstring) and receiver Trent Bostick (foot) have missed practice time, but are back. Center Thomas La Bianca  (knee) is also expected to return soon.

-- The 49ers are practicing in the afternoons now. Lambert is hoping the recent heat remains to better have his team conditioned for next week’s opener against Campbell.
-- The Charlotte Eagles are host to Orlando City FC in a USL Pro soccer game at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Queens Sports Complex in what is a homecoming former Eagles and Charlotte 49ers forward Giuseppe Gentile. Gentile, who left the 49ers after his sophomore season, was taken by the Chicago Fire in this season's Major League Soccer waiver draft. Gentile played in three reserve matches for the Fire before being loaned to the Eagles. He signed with Orlando City on July 11.

Gentile, who played at Ardrey Kell High, has scored twice this season for USL Pro -- including for the Eagles against Orlando City in May. Orlando City, which is moving to MLS next season, leads the USL Pro standings with 52 points (16-2-4). The Eagles (8-13-3) have 27 points and are two points out of the eighth and final playoff spot with two games remaining.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

49ers picked 2nd in C-USA men's soccer race

The Charlotte 49ers are picked to finish second in this season's Conference USA men's soccer race. The 49ers, who won last season's league tournament, were chosen behind only New Mexico, which won last season's regular-season title. 49ers forward Kyle Parker (Marvin Ridge High) is a preseason all-conference pick.

 Charlotte opens its season Aug. 31 against Radford at Transamerica Field. The 49ers' league opener is against New Mexico on Sept. 26. The Lobos went on to advance to the College Cup semifinals last season.

Charlotte 49ers open women's basketball C-USA schedule at ODU

The Charlotte 49ers will open their 18-game Conference USA schedule with a game at Old Dominion on Jan. 4. Most league games will be on a Thursday-Saturday basis, with the 49ers playing home-and-home series against ODU, C-USA newcomer Western Kentucky, North Texas, Rice and Marshall.

Charlotte opens its season Nov. 14 at Liberty. The home opener is Nov. 18 against N.C. State.

2014-15 Charlotte 49ers women's basketball schedule

Nov. 14, at Liberty; 18, N.C. State; 21, Elon; 27, Montana*; 28, Wake Forest*; 29, Princeton*.
Dec. 4, at South Carolina; 7, Charleston Southern; 15, at Ball State; 18, Presbyterian; 21, Davidson; 29, at Utah.
Jan. 4, at Old Dominion; 8, Western Kentucky; 10; Marshall; 15, at North Texas; 17, at Rice; 22, Ala.-Birmingham; 24, Middle Tennessee; 29, at Florida Atlantic; 31, at Florida International.
Feb. 7, Old Dominion; 12, Texas-El Paso; 14, Texas-San Antonio; 19, at Louisiana Tech; 21, at Southern Mississippi; 26, North Texas; 28, Rice.
March 5, at Western Kentucky; 7, at Marshall; 11-14, Conference USA tournament (at Birmingham, Ala.).
*Triple Crown Cancun Challenge Mayun Tournament, Riviera Maya, Mexico.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Charlotte 49ers to face Penn State in Charleston

-- Charlotte’s men’s basketball team will play Penn State in the first round of the Charleston Classic at 5 p.m. Nov. 20. The 49ers and Nittany Lions are in the same bracket as Cornell and South Carolina, with other first round games featuring Southern California against Akron and Drexel against Miami. Charlotte and Miami will also play a game at the 49ers’ Halton Arena on Nov. 25.

-- The 49ers are the preseason pick to win the Conference USA women’s soccer championship. Charlotte, which returns eight starters from last season’s 11-7-2 team that went 5-3-2 in the league, also have C-USA’s preseason defensive player of the year in Monica Trickett and a preseason all-league player in midfielder Amanda Jones. The 49ers open their season Aug. 22 at UNC Greensboro.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

49ers women's basketball home opener against N.C. State

The Charlotte 49ers' women's basketball nonconference schedule is highlighted by a home opener against N.C. State and a holiday tournament in Mexico.

Charlotte will face the Wolfpack on Nov. 18 in Halton Arena, four days after their season opener Nov. 14 at Liberty. The 49ers travel to Riviera  Maya, Mexico to play in the Triple Crown Cancun Challenge Nov. 27-29. They will face Montana, Wake Forest and Princeton in the event.

The schedule also features games at South Carolina (Dec. 4) and Utah (Dec. 29) and a home game against Davidson on Dec. 21.

The complete nonconference schedule (Conference USA will release the league schedule later):

Nov. 14, at Liberty; 21, N.C. State; 21, Elon; 27-29, at Triple Crown Cancun Challenge, Riviera Maya, Mexico) vs. Montana, Wake Forest, Princeton.

Dec. 4, at South Carolina; 7, Charleston Southern; 15, at Ball State; 18, Presbyterian; 21, Davidson; 29, at Utah.

Observations from Charlotte 49ers' opening football practice

Observations from the Charlotte 49ers' first preseason football practice Wednesday morning:

-- There was a decidedly different feel to the workout from last season's first practice, which opened the program's inaugural season. With more scholarship players on hand -- 74 this season as opposed to 63 in 2013 -- the players appeared to be bigger, faster and more in tune to what the coaching staff wants. Things were helped also by a nice, cool morning, with temperatures in the upper 60s.

-- Perhaps the best example of the new-look 49ers is right guard Daniel Blitch, who played last season at 320 pounds but has bulked up to 345. The increased weight appears all muscle. Whether that hinders his speed and quickness coming off the line, we'll see.

-- One open spot on the offense is at a receiver spot, where Mikel Hunter (now a grad assistant) played last season. Dmarjai Devine, who played sparingly last season, got several reps with the first team on Wednesday morning.

-- Running back Kalif Phillips has changed his number from 25 to 3. "I like the single digits," he said. Phillips, who led the 49ers with 716 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, said he's ready to be the No. 1 back this season after Alan Barnwell was thrown off the team last spring. Top candidates to be the No. 2 back are Damarrell Alexander and Donjore Gainey.

-- With Hunter graduated, the 49ers' return game will be overhauled. Coach Brad Lambert said punt-return candidates are Ardy Holmes, Austin Duke and Corey Nesmith. Trent Bostick and Alexander will get looks at kick returner.

-- Kevin Donnalley, who handles radio color commentary for the 49ers, has been hired as an intern on Charlotte's strength and conditioning staff. That's a high-level intern: Donnalley was an offensive lineman for 13 seasons in the NFL, including three for the the Carolina Panthers. He played in college at Davidson and North Carolina.

Monday, July 14, 2014

7-foot transferring from Auburn to Charlotte 49ers

Seven-footer Benas Griciunas, a member of Lithuania's U-20 national team, is transferring to Charlotte from Auburn, the 49ers are announcing this afternoon.

Griciunas will sit out the 2014-15 season per NCAA transfer rules and will have three years of eligibility remaining.

Griciunas averaged 2.0 points and 1.8 rebounds for the Tigers last season. He played in 12 games and started one against Illinois. He had a season-high eight points against Jacksonville State and a season-high five rebounds against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Griciunas was a 3-star prospect coming out of Findlay (Nev.) Prep two years ago. He has 3-point range and made five-of-six from long-range in a high school all-star game.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

First of 3 surgeries successful for Alan Major

Charlotte 49ers men's basketball coach Alan Major successfully underwent the first of three surgeries he is scheduled to have this summer in early June. The first procedure was on one of his eyes, with a heart operation coming up in mid-July. Major will have surgery on his other eye in August.

Major, who is taking a medical leave of absence to have the operations, is still recovering from the first procedure and expected to return to work by the time school starts later in August.


-- The 49ers' season-opening football game at Campbell on Aug. 28 will start at 7 p.m., Campbell announced Thursday.

-- Match play is coming to Conference USA's men's golf championship. Teams will play 54 holes of stroke play with the top four teams advancing to a four-team seeded match-play playoff. The format change is the same as the NCAA's championship format. C-USA is the first league in the country to go to the format.

-- Charlotte long-jumper Coye Still was one of 15 recipients of Conference USA's Jim Castaneda Postgraduate Scholarship. Still who won the Atlantic 10 long jump event as a junior, will receive a $4,000 scholarship. Still, from Harrisburg's Hickory Ridge High, also received the UNC Charlotte Provost's Athletic Academic Achievement Honor.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Robinson promoted to 49ers baseball staff

-- Former 49ers baseball star Bo Robinson has joined Charlotte's staff as a fulltime assistant coach. Robinson, who had been a volunteer assistant the last two seasons, is the only player in Charlotte history to have 100 RBIs in one season in 1998. He holds school records in doubles (82), RBIs (232) and total bases (499).

-- Marcus Bryan, who left Charlotte's basketball program in May, announced on his Twitter account that he's transferring to UNC Wilmington.