A football series between the Charlotte 49ers and Appalachian State was bound to happen. For at least two seasons beginning in 2018, it will.
“It’s a game that should be played,” 49ers coach Brad Lambert said in a statement Monday after both schools announced a two-game series for 2018 and ’19.
The first game will be Sept. 8, 2018 at Charlotte’s Richardson Stadium; the return game is scheduled for Sept. 7, 2019, at Kidd Brewer Stadium. News of the series was first reported by the Observer on Monday morning.
By 2018, both programs will have moved up to the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision. Charlotte will join Conference USA in 2015; the Mountaineers will take the step up to the FBS’ Sun Belt Conference next season.
“The proximity of our campuses, the similarity of our schools and the familiarity our student-athletes have with each other from the high school level make it a natural rivalry,” said Appalachian State coach Scott Satterfield.
And although the first game is four years away, more games between Charlotte and Appalachian State might be coming.
“We hope that it is a series that will extend well past this initial two-year arrangement and become a showcase for FBS football in western North Carolina and beyond,” Appalachian State athletics director Charlie Cobb said.
The 49ers and Mountaineers have been trying to schedule each other since Charlotte announced in 2010 that it would start football in 2013. But the uncertainty about the NCAA classification and conference where the programs eventually would land made scheduling difficult.
“It has been a priority to try to arrange a series that would be great for our student-athletes and fans,” said Cobb.
Said 49ers AD Judy Rose: “Adding a series against an in-state opponent that has the tradition and history of Appalachian State is important to the continued growth of our program. It’s a natural step as both programs transition into FBS play.”
Charlotte was 5-6 in its inaugural season. The 49ers, who will have played just two seasons in the Football Championship Subdivision before joining C-USA, have 2015 nonconference games against FBS foes Georgia State and Temple and FCS Presbyterian. Charlotte is scheduled to face Eastern Michigan, Kansas State, Temple and FCS Elon in 2016, and it has Eastern Michigan and Georgia State scheduled in 2017.
The 49ers’ 2019 nonconference schedule will include a game at Virginia Tech.
The Mountaineers, who won three consecutive national championships in 2005-07, were 4-8 in 2013, their final season in the Southern Conference and FCS.
Appalachian State’s nonconference opponents next season will include Michigan, Campbell, Southern Mississippi and Liberty. Future nonconference foes include Southern Mississippi and Old Dominion in 2015; ODU and Akron in 2016; and Akron in 2017.
“I’m glad that we were able to get (Appalachian State) on our schedule,” said Lambert. “We’re excited about the opportunity to play a great program from right here in our region.”
Scott: 704-358-5889; Twitter: @davidscott14
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