Charlotte, N.C. — UNC Charlotte Chancellor Dr. Philip Dubois and 49ers Director of Athletics Judy Rose today announced the naming of Jerry Richardson Stadium.
Richardson, owner of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, committed 10 million dollars to name the stadium in perpetuity. The announcement was made at a press conference held at the stadium today in the presence of University staff and supporters of the athletic program.
“Today, we take another huge step,” Dubois said. “Jerry knows that football can bring the students and the city of Charlotte together and he wanted to be among the first to stand up and state, ‘this program is important to me’.”
“The role UNC Charlotte plays in our community cannot be underestimated and its profile will only continue to grow,” Richardson said. “The addition of football is another step in that growth and it is important that our community supports the school and its programs. The potential of both the university and its athletic department is unlimited and I am pleased to be able to participate in their development. My personal experiences from football have been very beneficial and this is a way to support both the future of the game and the university.”
“This donation comes from the generous heart of a man who values where he came from and wants to help others get to where they’re going,” Rose said. “Jerry Richardson, by no means, needed to make this donation. His legacy in this community and around the country is firmly established. Jerry Richardson wanted to make this donation. As a former college athlete, he wanted to make this donation because of all that college athletics has done for him. As an owner of our region’s NFL franchise, he wanted to make this donation to support the region’s largest university.”
The Charlotte 49ers completed construction on the stadium in October of 2012. The football team, which will compete in its inaugural season this fall, began practice in the stadium at that time. The 15,300 seat stadium is located in the university’s CRI campus, near the entrance of highway 29.
“In the football world, few men stand as tall as Mr. Richardson and to have him, once again, pronounce his support for our school and our program is amazing,” said head coach Brad Lambert. “We cannot thank you enough. This is an extremely generous gift. We are honored.”
In addition to the 10 million dollar gift to name the stadium, Richardson surprised the university today by announcing an additional gift – an endowed football scholarship in honor of his son, Jon Richardson. This is the 49ers first endowed scholarship restricted to football. “One cannot overstate the importance of additional scholarship money for a brand new football program,” Rose stated.
“To add to his already generous gift in this manner is just another example of Jerry’s magnanimous nature,” Dubois said. “He saw an additional need and, once again, he stepped forward to address it.”
Richardson had previously partnered with banking industry pioneer Hugh McColl to name the stadium field, McColl-Richardson Field. The 49ers have also accepted a gift for the naming of the Judy W. Rose Football Center from Dale Halton.
The Charlotte 49ers will begin play this fall as a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) independent. In 2015, the 49ers will join Conference USA in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), with full FBS status, including bowl eligibility, slated for 2016.
Charlotte will open Jerry Richardson Stadium, August 31 when it hosts Campbell in its inaugural football game.
A limited number of Football Seat licenses (FSLs) and season tickets are available and can be purchased online at charlotte49ers.com or by calling the 49ers athletic ticket office at 704/687-4949.
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