The UNC Charlotte Alumni Association held its annual “Evening at Childress Vineyards” event just outside Lexington on Wednesday night. The event allows alumni that live in the surrounding area to come together and find out what’s going on with the University, as well as the athletic department. Head football coach Brad Lambert, men’s basketball coach Alan Major, women’s basketball coach Cara Consuegra, and also Chancellor Phillip Dubois were all in attendance and had some interesting things to say.
When talking about the football stadium, Dubois spoke about using standing-room only tickets to boost the attendance from 15,300 to somewhere around 17,000 spectators. He did not mention whether or not temporary bleachers would be used as well.
Dubois also made it a point to tell the gathered Alumni how the university goes about complying with NCAA rules and the steps that they go through to avoid what happened at “another school in the UNC system.” Coaches are required to tell the Chancellor’s office, not the Athletic Department, about a recruit that does not meet the requirements of the University, and what their plans are to help the athlete meet those requirements.
Coach Consuegra’s main focus during this offseason was to improve the Niners on the defensive end of the floor. She also praised the closeness of her team and spoke about how someone on the coaching staff charts how many times the players encourage one another during games.
When asked about recruiting for Conference USA, Consuegra said that she hoped to be able to recruit the state of Texas as well as their normal recruiting area of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
Coach Major hopes to use a 9 or 10-man rotation this upcoming season and finally feels good about the depth of his team, even though the team is young. He used the summer trip to the Bahamas to allow his younger players to see court time and get acclimated to his coaching style. Speaking of coaching style, Coach Major wants his team to drive to the basket more this season and wants them to shoot considerably less 3-point shots, something that Niner Nation has not been accustomed to seeing in the past.
Major seemed excited to add natural rivals in the 49ers’ upcoming move back to C-USA. He spoke of wanting the students and alumni to make the drive to many of the surrounding C-USA schools and its importance in building rivalries, something that was missing in the Atlantic 10. When asked about C-USA recruiting, Major said that the 49ers would not recruit the Northeast as much but hopes to start recruiting the Miami area. The Charlotte area and the state of North Carolina will continue to be a major focus of recruiting.
Coach Lambert came straight from practice and was an hour late to the event.
Lambert gushed about how nice the football facilities are and how his office is even nicer than Chancellor Dubois’. He urged the fan base to attend the upcoming Saturday scrimmages and see the facilities for themselves.
Lambert talked about current players, especially players that were from the area around where the alumni event was being held. He spoke highly of QB Karsten Miller, who played at nearby North Davidson, and how the 49ers might have gotten a steal with him. Miller missed all of his senior season because of a broken femur and Lambert felt that he would have been more highly recruited if he had played. The other players that received attention were Larry Ogunjobi, who Lambert said lost 100 lbs. to show his commitment to football, and running back Alan Barnwell who Lambert says plays much bigger than his actual size.
When asked about recruiting, Lambert said that he wanted about 15 Major College or JUCO transfers to add age and experience to his team. He also hopes to redshirt 10 to 12 members of the upcoming high school recruiting class during the 49ers’ first year of competition.