CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - With Sunday’s news that Charlotte 49ers Athletics Director Mike Hill will not bring back head football coach Brad Lambert in 2019, the question now becomes what direction does this program want to go as they look to take the next step.
“This is about the trajectory of the program,” said Hill. “We’re looking to build some momentum for the program.”
One of the key points brought up by Hill to build that momentum was the Niners recruiting efforts. This next coach will have to do that well but also develop that talent.
“It takes great players to make a great program,” said Hill. “We have to continually enhance and improve our recruiting game in order to compete with the other schools that are in our league and within the group of 5.”
When Hill was hired back in March of this year, his message to each and every program in 49ers athletics was simple and he restated it on Monday.
“Being just OK is not OK,” Hill said. “We’re here to competed for championships. I see no reason why we can’t be competing for championships in Conference USA in football and post season appearances.
The Charlotte 49ers job was the first head coaching job for Lambert and it was a difficult one as he had to get the 49ers football program started from scratch. They started as a FCS program and in 2 years, the job got even harder as the Niners moved to FBS and joined Conference USA.
During Lambert’s tenure, the Niners never had a winning season as he has a career record of 21-48. Clearly not the championship brand of ball that Hill is looking for.
With a week left in the regular season, Hill wanted to go ahead and get the coaching search started as he knows there will be more coaches relieved of their duties this weekend as the regular season comes to an end. Now, the Niners have a head start on finding the right candidate.
“In this instance, we are competing,” said Hill. “We are competing for the best coaches in the country. We need to get ahead of this because it’s in the best interest of the program."
Will the next coach be one with previous head coaching experience or a hot assistant that can hit the recruiting trail? For that answer, you may look at Hill’s first hire as Charlotte’s AD when he selected Ron Sanchez as the new basketball head coach.
Sanchez was one of the top assistant coaches in the country who did wonders in helping Tony Bennett turn programs around at Virginia and Washington State. Sanchez made his mark as a great recruiter and is big on player development. Two major factors Hill is looking for in a new football coach.
There is no time table on when a new coach will be in place, but the hope is soon as the new man will have to hit the recruiting trail to build next year’s team.