Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Charlotte 49ers Bid Farewell to Atlantic 10

By Tom Whitestone

On July 1, the Charlotte 49ers will complete their move to Conference USA, a league that they were members of for a 10-year stint from 1995-96 through 2004-05.  The 49ers will bid farewell to the Atlantic 10 Conference, of which they were member for eight years, from 2005-06 through 2012-13.

In the eight years in the Atlantic 10, Charlotte put up some stout numbers:
50 Atlantic 10 Conference Championships
18 NCAA Team trips and another 10 NIT appearances
40 NCAA Individual appearances
45 Atlantic 10 Players of the Year
29 Atlantic 10 Individual Sport Student-Athletes of the Year
7 Atlantic 10 Male or Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year

To put it in perspective, in the 49ers’ eight years in the league, the conference, which included up to 16 teams, awarded 204 league championships in the sports Charlotte sponsors. Charlotte won 25% of them, more than any other school in the league.

The A-10 awarded 230 Player of the Year Awards over that span. Charlotte won 20% of those, more than any other school in the league.

In the six years that they awarded individual sport student-athletes of the year, 94 such honors were distributed. Charlotte won over 31% of them, more than any other school in the league.

In the six years that they awarded a Male and Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, 12 such individuals earned honors.  Seven were 49ers. No other school had more than two.

The 49ers won an average of six league titles per year, including a high of eight in 2007-08 when baseball and women’s soccer swept regular-season and tournament titles and in 2008-09 when women’s soccer enjoyed another sweep and women’s basketball claimed the tournament title in Halton Arena. In 2005-06 and in 2008-09, a high of seven different 49ers programs won league titles.

Men’s Golf, Women’s Indoor Track and Women’s Outdoor Track each won seven of a possible eight league titles during the 49ers stay in the A-10.  In fact, after just eight years in the league, the 49ers own conference records for most league titles in each of those sports: golf, women’s indoor track and women’s outdoor track. The 49ers men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field programs combined to win an incredible 23 of a possible 32 league championships.

Overall, 11 different 49ers programs won an A-10 league title; 13 sports boasted an A-10 Player of the Year and 11 had a sport Student-Athlete of the Year.

Along the way, Charlotte reached the NCAA National Championship game in men’s soccer in 2011 and boasted back-to-back top 10 finishes at the NCAA Golf Championships, including a third-place finish in 2007. Additional NCAA tournament victories, Top 25 W’s and a slew of all-America performances vaulted the 49ers program to the top of the league.

Charlotte battled with the likes of Xavier and Dayton, Richmond and George Washington, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, Fordham and St. Bonaventure, Temple and La Salle, Saint Joseph’s and Saint Louis and ultimately VCU and Butler.

On June 30, the 49ers eight-year membership in the Atlantic 10 Conference ends. For Charlotte, it was an era marked by excellence.

NUMBERS OVER LAST 8 YEARS (in the 16 sports Charlotte participates):
A-10 Championships: 
1.)    Charlotte                     50
2.)    Dayton                         32
3.)    Saint Louis/Xavier    20
(Charlotte won those 50 titles in 11 sports; Dayton was 2nd with 8 sports winning titles)
A-10 Players of the Year:
1.)    Charlotte                     45
2.)    Dayton                         28
3.)    Rhode Island              22
(Charlotte won those 45 awards in 13 sports; Temple was 2nd with 16 awards in 10 sports)
A-10 Sport Student-Athletes of the Year: (awarded for six years from 2005-06 to 2010-11):
1.)    Charlotte                                                     29
2.)    Dayton                                                         10
3.)    George Washington/Saint Louis        8
(Charlotte won those 29 awards in 11 sports; Dayton; GW and SLU won awards in 6 sports each)
A-10 Male and Female Scholar-Athletes of the Year: (awarded for six years from 2005-06 to 2010-11)
(re-instituted for 2012-13 – award winners to be announced)
1.)    Charlotte                     7
2.)    Saint Louis                   2
3.)    Xavier; Saint Bonaventure; Massachusetts   1

(Charlotte won its 7 awards in 5 sports; SLU won its awards in 2 sports)

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Tom Whitestone is associate athletic director for media relations

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