A Charlotte couple who graduated from UNC Charlotte in the late 1980s have made the largest single donation so far by alums to the Charlotte 49ers’ football program, school officials said Friday.
Hunter and Stephanie Edwards have given $2 million to the program, which moves this year to the Football Bowl Subdivision, the highest level of NCAA football. University officials made the announcement during a morning news conference, also saying that the promenade area at Jerry Richardson Stadium has been named for the Edwards.
Hunter Edwards, a 1988 UNCC economics graduate, is owner and CEO of Charlotte-based Mechanical System Solutions. Stephanie Edwards graduated in 1986 from the university with a biology degree.
The promenade includes the press box, broadcast booths and coaches’ boxes.
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“Without the faculty and staff here, I never would have made it to where I am now,” Hunter Edwards said of the university. “This place is really impressive.”
The 49ers open their first FBS season next Friday with a 3:30 p.m. game at Georgia State. Their home opener is Sept. 12 against Presbyterian.
“This kind of gift from the community is important to our program,” athletics director Judy Rose said. “We welcome others who would like to contribute.”
In other news surrounding the 49ers’ football program:
▪ Most, if not all, of Charlotte’s practices during the next week will be during the afternoon, so players get used to the timetable for next Friday’s 3:30 p.m. kickoff.
▪ Head coach Brad Lambert said senior defensive back Ardy Holmes, a West Charlotte High product, underwent surgery for a broken foot but is only expected to miss one or two games.
▪ Game time for the 49ers’ third contest, Sept. 19 at Middle Tennessee, will be at 7 p.m., according to Middle Tennessee officials. It will be Charlotte’s first Conference USA contest.
▪ Game times for three other contests – at home Oct. 31 against Marshall, Nov. 14 against Texas-San Antonio, and at Kentucky on Nov. 21 – have not been set.