We take a moment during each of the Final 49 weeks until Kickoff 2013 to look at various aspects of the Charlotte 49ers football program.


Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

June 16, 2013

By Tom Whitestone

Jerry Richardson's 10 million dollar gift to name our football stadium is worthy of many thanks.

Mr. Richardson is the owner of the Panthers -- and he credits college athletics and college football for helping him enjoy success as a college student-athlete, NFL player and now NFL franchise owner. 

He wanted to give back.  He wanted to say thank you. 
And, despite knowing some would object, he wanted to do it in a public way that might urge others in the community to back the local university.

UNC Charlotte is a young school.  In fact, the school only joined the UNC system 48 years ago. 2013-14 will be year number 49 in the university system.

So, not surprisingly, the three donors to the football program whose gifts named the stadium, the field and the football center -- Richardson, Hugh McColl and Dale Halton -- are not alums.

Certainly, plenty of alumni stepped up to purchase FSLs and their support steadily increases -- but to continue to grow as quickly as it has, the university needs the backing of the community it serves.

Jerry Richardson understands this. And Jerry Richardson was not afraid to step up and say that Charlotte's university -- Charlotte's college football program -- are important to him.

So this week, Jerry Richardson feels good about what he has done.  He feels good that he made a gift to a strong university that needs it and gifts like it to continue to grow.  He feels good about standing up in front of all of Charlotte and proclaiming his support.

There are many ways that Richardson could have done this -- but he opted to do it in the way that would make the greatest impact on the 49ers football program.  He wanted to help make it successful, just as college football helped make him successful. 

Obviously, the financial impact is huge.  A 10 million dollar donation is the largest single gift to the 49ers from an individual. 

The impact, however, is equally as strong in ways that can't be as easily measured.  He's pronounced his support in a very public way -- and in so doing has urged other community leaders, alums and football fans to do the same.

Take note of the Charlotte 49ers.  See what is happening on this campus.  Check us out.

Mr. Richardson did -- and he liked what he saw.

And for that we say, thank you.  One time, three times or 10 million times.