Charlotte 49ers men's basketball
|Charlotte 49ers Men's Basketball|
|Head coach||Alan Major (3rd year)|
|Arena||Dale F. Halton Arena
|Student section||Niner Nation|
Green and White
|NCAA Tournament Final Four|
|NCAA Tournament Elite Eight|
|NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen|
|NCAA Tournament appearances|
|1977, 1988, 1992, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005|
|Conference tournament champions|
|1977, 1988 (Sun Belt)
1999, 2001 (CUSA)
|Conference regular season champions|
|1977, 1978, 1988 (Sun Belt)
The Charlotte 49ers men's basketball team represents UNC Charlotte in NCAA Division I basketball. The 49ers returned as members of Conference USA after previously playing in the Sun Belt Conference, Metro Conference and the A-10.
The basketball team has spent the better part of its short history in the shadow of the state's four Atlantic Coast Conference teams. However, the 49ers have carved out a niche of their own, making ten appearances in the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship. In their first appearance, in 1977, they advanced all the way to the Final Four--at the time, the deepest run for a first-time tournament participant. They have also earned regular and post-season championships in three different conferences.
- 1 Program History
- 2 Team Record
- 3 Coaches
- 4 Players
- 5 Uniforms
- 6 Home Venues
- 7 Rivalries
- 8 Records
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Early Years (1965–1975)
UNC Charlotte first fielded an intercollegiate basketball program in 1965. Chancellor Bonnie Cone appointed Harvey Murphy, previously a physical education instructor and head of the physical education program at the university, as the first head coach in school history. Murphy coached the 49ers in the NAIA as a member of the Dixie Conference from 1965 through 1970, winning the conference in 1969 and 1970.
Bill Foster was hired to succeed Harvey Murphy after the 1969–1970 season as the 49ers moved from the NAIA to Division I as an independent. Foster notched two twenty win seasons in 1973–1974 and 1974–1975 before moving on to coach at Clemson. Foster's lasting legacy on the program was bringing in two of the most notable players on the team which would advance to the 1977 Final Four: Cedric Maxwell and Melvin Watkins.
Lee Rose Years (1975–1977)
After Bill Foster left for Clemson, Lee Rose was hired as the head coach in 1975. Rose inherited a team coming off of two twenty win seasons and led them to the NIT championship game in his first year. The following season the 49ers became a charter member of the Sun Belt Conference.
In their first year in the Sun Belt, the 49ers tallied what is still the best season in school history. They swept the regular season and tournament titles, earning the program's first NCAA Tournament berth. The ensuring NCAA tournament run is still one of the most successful ever for a first-time participant. After beating Central Michigan in the first round 91–86, the 49ers dispatched Syracuse 81–59 to advance to the Elite Eight. The 49ers then took out heavily favored Michigan by a score of 75–68 to advance to the program's first and only Final Four--the first time that a first-time participant had ever advanced that far. Charlotte would fall to eventual champions Marquette in the national semifinals 51–49. The 49ers would then lose to UNLV in the third place game. Their final record was 28-5, still a school record for wins in a season.
Despite the loss of the two leaders of the Final Four team from the previous season, Lee Rose guided the 49ers to a fifth consecutive twenty win season in 1977–1978. Rose would then leave to coach at Purdue for the 1978–1979 season. Rose's .800 winning percentage at Charlotte remains the highest in school history.
Post-Rose Years (1978–1985)
Following Rose's departure, Mike Pratt, an assistant under Rose at Charlotte, was named the head coach for the 1978–1979 season. In his first and only head coaching job, Pratt could not maintain the success of the program under Rose, compiling a 56–52 record over four seasons with no postseason appearances. The best year under Pratt was the 1978–1979 season in which the 49ers earned a 16–11 record and a second place Sun Belt finish. Pratt was dismissed following the 1981–1982 season.
Following Pratt's dismissal, the 49ers hired Hal Wissel as head basketball coach. Wissel was previously a successful coach at many levels, but his tenure would be the least successful in the Charlotte's history at the Division 1 level. After three seasons and a 22–62 record, Wissel was dismissed following the 1984–1985 season.
Jeff Mullins Years (1985–1996)
Following Wissel's dismissal, Jeff Mullins was hired as both head basketball coach and athletic director. Mullins guided the 49ers through multiple conference changes and kicked off the most successful, sustained run in school history.
Mullins inherited a last place Sun Belt team and things didn't improve in his first season with an 8–20 record. However, in just his second year he guided the 49ers back above .500 for the first time in five seasons, leading them to an 18–14 record in 1986–1987. Led by Sun Belt Player of the Year Byron Dinkins, Mullins coached the 49ers to the Sun Belt regular season and post-season championships and the program's first NCAA Tournament berth since their Final Four run. Seeded 13th, the 49ers lost to 4th seed BYU in the first round of the Southeast Regional by a score of 98–92.
The following season the 49ers finished second in the Sun Belt and earned an NIT berth. In their final two seasons in the Sun Belt, Mullins led the 49ers to a 30–28 record with no postseason appearances.
Metro Conference (1992–1995)
Prior to the 1992–1993 season the 49ers moved to the Metro Conference. In their four seasons in the Metro Conference, the 49ers never finished lower than 4th in the standings, won one regular season conference title, and one post-season conference title. The success was rewarded with two NCAA Tournament berths, in 1992 and 1995, losing in the first round both times.
After the 1994–1995 season, the 49ers joined Conference USA. In what would be Mullins' last season, Charlotte went 14–15 in 1995–1996, finishing tied for 6th in the league. Mullins retired following that season as the all time winningest coach in school history with 182 wins and also had more postseason appearances than all previous coaches combined.
Former on-the-court star and longtime assistant coach for the 49ers Melvin Watkins took over as head coach for the 1996–1997 season. Watkins had two successful seasons as the Charlotte head coach, leading the team into the second round of the NCAA tournament in both years. He left to take the head coaching job at Texas A&M in 1998.
Bobby Lutz Years (1998–2010)
After Watkins left for Texas A&M, Charlotte named Bobby Lutz its new head coach. Lutz was an assistant under both Watkins and Jeff Mullins at Charlotte. Lutz accepted the head coaching job at Gardner–Webb in 1995 only to resign two weeks later to accept the assistant job at his alma mater on Mullin's staff.
Lutz's run of success in Conference USA is arguably the best sustained stretch in Charlotte basketball history. The 49ers reached the NCAA Tournament in 5 of the 7 years they were in Conference USA under Lutz.
In his first season, Lutz guided the 49ers to a 10–6 record in CUSA. Seeded fifth in the conference tournament, the 49ers won four games in four days, taking out three of the top four seeds in the process to win the CUSA conference tournament for the first time. This earned Charlotte a 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They defeated Rhode Island in the first round before falling to 13-seed Oklahoma in round two.
The 1999–2000 season would be defined by the passing of Charles Hayward in September 1999. Hayward lost a two-year battle with Leukemia, he would have his jersey retired. Charlotte would play to a 17–16 record and earn an NIT berth.
The 2000–2001 seasons saw the arrival of Rodney White who would become the top scoring freshman in the country and be named ESPN's National Freshmen of the Year. Led by White, Charlotte would win its second CUSA Tournament Title in three years and earn a 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament with a 22–11 record. Charlotte would defeat Tennessee in the first round of the Midwest Regional before falling to #1 seed Illinois in the round of 32. White would leave Charlotte for the NBA Draft and be selected 9th overall by the Detroit Pistons.
The 2004–2005 season would see the 49ers return to the top 25 behind eventual CUSA Player of the Year Eddie Basden, he would also win CUSA Defensive POY for the second straight season. The promising season would take a turn for the worse in the last few weeks. The 49ers lost a game on senior night at Louisville which would determine the regular season conference champion. They followed that with a loss on an emotional senior night at South Florida. They then drew a Memphis team in the CUSA tournament who had under-performed all year but caught fire at the end of the season. Charlotte was bounced from the first round of the CUSA tournament and had their season ended in round 1 of the NCAA tournament by NC State.
Following the exodus of many of the top basketball programs from CUSA to the Big East in 2005, Charlotte was left as a non-football school in a weak basketball conference despite having the second best record in CUSA history at the time, trailing only Cincinnati. Charlotte eventually joined the Atlantic 10 for all sports along with fellow CUSA member Saint Louis. Lutz was not able to sustain the level of success he achieved in CUSA. Over the course of six seasons in the A10, Lutz's record was 83–75, compared to his record of 135–83 in CUSA. The 49ers earned two NIT bids under Lutz in the A10, going 1–2 in those tournaments. The 49ers fell apart to end the 2009–2010 season, going 1–7 in their last eight games which dropped them from first place in the A10 and a potential NCAA tournament team to not receiving an NIT bid, Lutz was dismissed following this collapse.
Lutz had more wins (218) and NCAA tournament appearances (5) than any other coach in Charlotte history. His firing was met with mixed emotions among students and fans.
Alan Major Years (2010–)
On April 12, 2010 Alan Major was announced as the new head coach of the Charlotte 49ers. The coaching search targeted assistants at successful high-level programs, Major was a member of Thad Matta's staff at Ohio State which included a national title game appearance. Throughout his career Major has a history of helping highly skilled big men develop into great NBA prospects. He coached two future #1 overall draft picks in Michael Olowokandi and Greg Oden while at Pacific and Ohio State, respectively. He also came in with A10 experience having been as assistant under Matta at Xavier.
Major's first year was headlined by the dismissal of one senior big man, Shamarri Spears, in the Fall and another, Phil Jones, not qualifying academically for the Spring semester. The early season schedule was highlighted by a 49–48 victory over #7 ranked Tennessee and a 2OT win at Georgia Tech. Following Jones being ruled ineligible, the team was left with just 8 scholarship players for the remainder of the season and would struggle in conference play, finishing with a 2–14 league record and failing to make the A10 conference tournament for the first time. The three-year postseason drought is their longest since Jeff Mullins took over in 1985.
The 2011–2012 season saw less off-the-court drama, although individual players were benched for disciplinary reasons, but there was little improvement in terms of wins and losses. The 49ers would finish with a 13–17 record, 5–11 in conference play. This was an improvement of Major's first year and earned them an A10 tournament spot, a first round loss at St. Joe's. Chris Braswell would average 15.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game and be named to the A10 All-Conference Third Team. Pierria Henry was among the nation's leaders in steals and earned a spot on the A10 All-Rookie Team.
The 2012-2013 season resulted in an improved 21-12 record and a berth in the NIT. The season was successful overall, but the 49ers lost four games in a row in February/March which removed them from NCAA tournament consideration. This was followed by a miraculous first round A10 tournament victory over Richmond in which Pierria Henry took 11 free throws in the final 4.7 seconds of game time to overcome a 3-point deficit. Richmond was called for three technical fouls, one non-shooting foul and one shooting foul in that time. The 49ers followed this with a blowout loss to St. Louis in the 2nd round. In the NIT the 49ers were eliminated in round 1 at Providence.
Following the 2012-2013 season, Darion Clark announced he was leaving the program. Clark saw a total of seven minutes in the 49ers' two A10 tournament games, a large drop from his regular season average. In late April forward E. Victor Nickerson also announced he was transferring, leaving Charlotte with only 6 scholarship players for the 2013-2014 season at the time.
|Dixie Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NAIA) (1963–1970)|
|1969–1970||Harvey Murphy||14–16||10-4||T-2nd||NAIA District Playoffs|
|Independent (Division I) (1971–1976)|
|Sun Belt Conference (Division I) (1976–1991)|
|1976–1977||Lee Rose||28–5||5–1||1st||NCAA Final Four|
|1987–1988||Jeff Mullins||22–9||11–3||1st||NCAA First round|
|Metro Conference (Division I) (1991–1995)|
|1991–1992||Jeff Mullins||23–9||7–5||2nd||NCAA First round|
|1994–1995||Jeff Mullins||19–9||8–4||1st||NCAA First round|
|Conference USA (Division I) (1995–2005)|
|1996–1997||Melvin Watkins||22–9||10–4||3rd||NCAA Second round|
|1997–1998||Melvin Watkins||20–11||13–3||2nd||NCAA Second round|
|1998–1999||Bobby Lutz||23–11||10–6||T-3rd||NCAA Second round|
|2000–2001||Bobby Lutz||22–11||10–6||2nd||NCAA Second round|
|2001–2002||Bobby Lutz||18–12||11–5||3rd||NCAA First round|
|2003–2004||Bobby Lutz||21–9||12–4||1st||NCAA First round|
|2004–2005||Bobby Lutz||21–8||12–4||2nd||NCAA First round|
|Atlantic 10 Conference (Division I) (2005–2013)|
|Conference USA (Division I) (2013–present)|
National champion Conference regular season champion Conference tournament champion
Current Coaching staff
|Alan Major||Head Coach|
|Ryan Odom||Assistant Coach|
|Desmond Oliver||Assistant Coach|
|Orlando Vandross||Assistant Coach|
|Mark Bialkolski/ Stephen Doughton||Director of Basketball Operations|
Head Coach History
|23||Jarvis Lang||1990–1991; 1992–1995|
Conference Player of the Year Winners
|Cedric Maxwell||1976–1977||Sun Belt|
|Byron Dinkins||1987–1988||Sun Belt|
|DeMarco Johnson||1997–1998||Conference USA|
|Eddie Basden||2004–2005||Conference USA|
The following Charlotte basketball players appeared in at least one game in the NBA:
- Cedric Ball (1990)
- Eddie Basden (2005–2006)
- Sean Colson (2000–2001)
- Byron Dinkins (1990–1991)
- DeMarco Johnson (1999–2000)
- Chad Kinch (1980–1981)
- Cedric Maxwell (1977–1988)
- Rodney White (2001–2005)
Currently, Charlotte's primary uniforms feature a white jersey with green lettering and trim for home games, and a green jersey with white lettering and trim for away games. The team wore black road jerseys from 2001 to 2003, and wore black jerseys for a game against Tennessee in 2010 and Saint Louis in 2012.
- Local high school gymnasiums (1963–1970)
- Belk Gymnasium (full-time 1970–1976, part-time 1976–1996)
- Bojangles Coliseum (1976–1988, 1993–1996)
- Charlotte Coliseum (1988–1993)
- Dale F. Halton Arena (1996–present)
- Time Warner Cable Arena (occasional, 2007–present)
Hornet's Nest Trophy
Charlotte's 29-year rivalry with the Davidson Wildcats sees Mecklenburg County's only two Division I schools go head-to-head for the Hornet's Nest Trophy. Charlotte leads the series 27–11. With some exceptions, the two schools play annually.
Charlotte has had its fair share of intense rivalries. One of the most heated and intense rivalries was with the Bob Huggins-coached Cincinnati Bearcats of Conference USA. Throughout a ten-year period from 1995–96 to 2004–05, Charlotte managed to upset Cincinnati teams ranked #3, #8, #18, #20 in the country. In what became known as the Cincinnati Incident, a brawl broke out between Cincinnati and the Charlotte student section, when a Cincinnati player threw the basketball into the stands. This led to the creation of a 'buffer zone' being implemented behind the visiting team's bench. ESPN commentator Andy Katz provided this explanation on why Charlotte-Cincinnati was one of the juiciest rivalries in the country: "The games are hotly contested usually and the fans in Charlotte don't like Cincinnati. They get up for this game more than any other."
|5||Jarvis Lang||1990–1991, 1992–1995||1855|
|2||Jarvis Lang||1990–1991, 1992–1995||1047|
|3||Delano Johnson||1989–1992, 1993–1994||496|
|5||Delano Johnson||1989–1992, 1993–1994||189|
|7||Pierria Henry||2011 -||180|
|T - 9||Demon Brown||2001-2004||149|
|T - 9||Jarvis Lang||1990-1991, 1992-1995||149|
|4||Jarvis Lang||1990–1991, 1992–1995||103|
|4||Tremaine Gardiner||1995–1997, 1998–2000||123|
|Rank||Player||Years||Three Pointers Made|
Single Game Records
|Free Throws Made||Sean Colson & DeMarco Johnson||12/20/1997 & 2/9/1998||16||G. Washington & Tulane|
|Rebounds||Ben Basinger & Cedric Maxwell||12/3/1970 & 2/19/1977||24||Florida Presbyterian & Seton Hall|
|Steals||Eddie Basden (twice), 7 other players||2/2/2008 (latest, Charlie Coley)||7||Richmond (latest)|
|Minutes Played||Phil Ward||1/5/1981||53||Jacksonville|
|Three Pointers Made||Brendan Plavich||11/26/2003||10||Syracuse|
-  Charlotte 49ers Join Conference USA
-  Remembering Hayward
-  Charlotte 49ers Freshman Rodney White Named ESPN.com's National Freshman of the Year
-  Lutz fired after 12 seasons at Charlotte
-  Charlotte Fires Bobby Lutz: An Emotional Day For 49er Fans
-  Charlotte 49ers' Henry, Braswell pick up A-10 honors
-  Charlotte 68, Richmond 63
-  Basketball, Football Transfer News
-  2010–11 Charlotte Men's Basketball Media guide
-  Charlotte 49ers
-  Charlotte Men's Basketball Won/Loss History
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Charlotte 49ers men's basketball.|