Brad Lambert Named UNC-Charlotte's First Football Coach
Updated 9:55 p.m. UNC-Charlotte has its first football coach in school history. Brad Lambert comes to the 49ers after spending 10 years as a defensive assistant at Wake Forest, the last three as defensive coordinator. He was welcomed Tuesday at a press conference that included students, cheerleaders, alumni and several former players. WFAE's Greg Collard reports. Lambert has spent the last 21 seasons coaching football, so the next couple years will be an adjustment. He won't coach his first game until the fall of 2013. But he will be helping lay the foundation for the program. That excited him about the job. And Lambert says that foundation will be based on three things: "That's character, humility and toughness. We're going to get the right people involved, we're going to hire the right guys. They're going to know who to recruit. We're going to recruit high character guys." OK, so how do you sell those players on UNC-Charlotte if they opportunities to play somewhere else at established programs? "Well, the biggest thing is it's new. Everything's going to be new. The facilities are going to be new. The staff is going to be new," Lambert said, adding, "and there's probably a good chance you'll play." The crowd laughed. All kidding aside, Lambert says the Charlotte area is also an attraction. "Where you live and go to school is important to kids. We're gonna have a lot of good things to sell, and it's going to be a lot of fun to get started." Lambert will make $250,000 a year over six years, although the contract can be renegotiated after two years. The football program has two primary sources of revenue to get started. About $6 million has been raised through private donations and what the school calls "football seat licenses." Through thse seat licenses, fans essentially pay for the right to buy season tickets. UNC-Charlotte has sold more than 3,368 of these licenses at $1,000 or $2,500 each. There's also a student fee of $120 a year that's expected to annually raise about $2.4 million. UNC-Charlotte sophomore Dylan Moore was one of several students who attended the press conference. He says the fee is worth it. "Being a student here, you want to have football and you want to be able to go on a Saturday afternoon and just watch college football with a bunch of your friends, and just start the tradition." Also in attendance were seven former players of Lambert's, including Aaron Curry. He was a linebacker at Wake Forest, and now plays for the Seattle Seahawks. Curry says Lambert helped make him a better person on and off the field. "When I came in as a freshman, I felt like the world revolved around me, and I thought I could do no wrong and I could do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted to do it. I had no discipline. I was just wandering. I was lost. And coach Lambert got me in the right direction, and just helped me stay on that path," Curry said. We'll know who some of Lambert's future players will be next February, when he can sign his first recruiting class. They'll play in a new 15,000-seat stadium that can be expanded to 60,000. Construction of the $40 million facility is scheduled to begin in late April.