Charlotte 49ers dream of football becomes reality
MAY 17, 2013 6:49p ET
For years, fans have wondered when the school would have a team.
But football wasn't a main concern for Philip Dubois when he became the university's chancellor in 2005.
"I said in my installation speech in the following February that I didn't want to talk about football," Dubois said. "What I didn't realize at the time was that was not an acceptable answer to a lot of people."
In 2006, the dream of football at Charlotte started to become a reality.
Athletic director Judy Rose and former board of trustee Mac Everett helped convince Dubois to put the wheels in motion for a football program.
"About a year after I had arrived, Mac Everett my board chair, started to talk with me about 'this is kind of becoming a distraction,'" Dubois said. "Because everywhere you go the first question is, 'What about football?'
"So with Mac's support, we agreed to move forward," he said.
Everett was so dedicated to addressing this issue that he volunteered to chair a football feasibility committee.
"He didn't have to give a committee a chance to make a case for a football team, but he did," Everett said. "Our committee met for the first time and early 2007. We spent a year. We made a recommendation in February 2008."
The next step was a tough one for Dubois over the next several months.
"I think I lost 14 pounds during that process," he said. "I think I knew if I recommended against football there was a chance the board could override me or if they supported me it would kill football for all time."
In the end, Dubois gave the green light to the board of trustees to apply for the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) to begin playing in 2013.
The board unanimously agreed with the recommendation.
The process of building a stadium and putting together a coaching staff took place over the next few years.
Rose turned to former Wake Forest assistant coach Brad Lambert to lead the 49ers beginning this fall.
Charlotte joins Conference USA in 2013, but the 49ers football team won't begin C-USA play until the 2015 season.