In a surprise announcement, Saturday night, longtime 49ers supporter Dale Halton and Chancellor Dr. Philip Dubois announced that the recently completed football field house would be named in honor of 49ers Director of Athletics Judy Rose. This week, it was officially named Judy W. Rose Football Center.

Halton was being honored at a reception at the Chancellor's home for her gift for naming rights to the facility with Rose, Dubois and head football coach Brad Lambert speaking at the event.

"Phil and I talked about it," Halton said. "There's not a better person to have their name on that building. I'm so thrilled that's it's going to have Judy's name in it. It's such a pleasure to do this for Judy -- to recognize all that she has done for the university and athletics."

"There are only a few major naming opportunities left on our campus that could capture the significance of Judy Rose's leadership in building the 49er athletic program," Dubois said. "Dale Halton and I agreed that this would be the perfect way to recognize that leadership."

As Rose prepared to unveil a rendering of the field house bearing Halton's name, the Chancellor let the crowd know that he and Halton had worked behind the scenes and with the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees to have the facility named for someone other than Halton, but someone who, like Halton, had made enormous contributions and offered a high standard of service to the university.

The rendering was then unveiled, with Rose's name upon it.

As streamers flew, Rose turned and hugged Halton before stepping to the podium, speechless.

"I was totally shocked," Rose said of the announcement. "I have gone through every emotion. I'm shocked, extremely honored, and humbled. I never envisioned or imagined anything like this."

Rose, who started her career with the 49ers in 1975-76, has served as Director of Athletics since 1990-91. As A.D., Rose has seen the 49ers add nearly $100 million worth of athletic facilities, including the Barnhardt Student Activity Center/Halton Arena, the Irwin Belk Track and Field Center/Transamerica Field, Robert and Mariam Hayes Baseball Stadium, Wells Fargo Field House, the Miltimore-Wallis Athletic Training and Academic Center, the Golf Practice Facility at Rocky River Golf Course, the Halton-Wagner Tennis Complex, McColl-Richardson Football Field and softball stadium renovations. In all, these facilities have upgraded the venues that each 49ers student-athlete competes in and enhanced the environment around which they train and study.

In addition, the 49ers have enjoyed its best success under Rose, with 14 of the 49ers 16 programs winning a conference title or advancing to NCAA Tournament play or both during her tenure. Prior to her becoming A.D., only two programs experienced that type of success. Thanks to her focus on academic success, community service and the all-around development of student-athletes, Charlotte 49ers student-athletes have boasted a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better for each of the last six years, have won eight of the Atlantic 10 Conference's 14 Male and Female Student-Athlete of the Year awards over the last seven years. Thirty-three of the 49ers 37 Academic all-America honors have been won since Rose became Director of Athletics.

She has helped attract events to Charlotte like the 1994 NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four, 1996 NCAA Women's Basketball Final Four and the 1999 and 2000 NCAA Men's Soccer College Cups to Charlotte as well as several NCAA Basketball Tournament rounds.

Well-respected in her field, she has served as President of the National Association of College Athletics Directors of America (NACDA), was named the NACDA Southeast Region Athletic Director of the Year, became the first woman to serve on the NCAA Div. I Men's Basketball Committee and was one of only four athletics directors invited to NCAA President Mark Emmert's 2011 retreat.

The 49ers athletic department became fully-funded at the NCAA allowable limits for the first time under Rose and she keyed the 49ers successful bid to add football in 2013 -- an undertaking that she readily credits to a host of contributors.

"There's so many people to thank for football becoming a reality, here. The football feasibility committee and (chair) Mac Everett, the students and alums who pushed so hard for football, the Charlotte Football Initiative, the SGA and the several past presidents, the Board of Trustees and Chancellor Dubois. Our staff, the university infrastructure, the Kickoff 2013 committee members. The Football Preparation Committee, the FSL Sales team and, of course, the FSL holders. The folks from Jenkins Peer Architects, the DLR Group and Rodgers PCL Russell who are building the facility. We've said all along this is not an athletic department decision, but a university decision -- and people have embraced that -- here within the university and throughout the Charlotte community."

"It's an honor and a pleasure to do this for her," Halton added. "She's an athletic director that we are extremely proud of -- and we're lucky to have her."

The inaugural season of Charlotte 49ers football will be in 2013. Football coaches, staff and team members will begin moving into the Judy W. Rose Football Center this week to open up a season of practice in preparation for the historic first season. A limited number of FSLs are available for purchase for fans to secure their seat to 49ers football.