Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper is doing his part to help the West Charlotte High School basketball team win a state championship.
Thursday afternoon, city councilman James “Smudgie” Mitchell told the team that Tepper had provided them with two charter buses to make the trip to Raleigh as well as cover the team’s hotel rooms Friday night.
Before the gift, West Charlotte had planned to drive up to Raleigh on Saturday morning. The Lions (25-6) will play Winterville’s South Central High in the N.C. 4A championship game at noon at N.C. State.
“It’s just been overwhelming, with the alumni and now the owner of the Panthers helping us out,” West Charlotte coach Jacoby Davis said. “It’s just been a blessing. It caught me off guard. It’s not normal that an NFL team is paying for a high school basketball team like this. But it shows the community cares about what’s going on here.”
Davis said Tepper’s gift will allow his team’s game preparation to go much smoother.
“We’re playing at 12 (Saturday),” Davis said, “so this gives us a chance to get up there (Friday) and practice and relax and get ready for the game (Saturday) morning, instead of having to get up (Saturday) and go up.