The 29-year men's basketball rivalry between the Charlotte 49ers and Davidson Wildcats will continue this season with an assist from an unlikely source.
Athletics directors at the two schools came up with a compromise date with the help of Winthrop coach Randy Peele and Eagles athletics director Tom Hickman, who agreed to move Winthrop's game at Charlotte this season to help make possible the 49ers-Wildcats game, played annually for the Hornets' Nest Trophy.
The 49ers will now play at Davidson on Saturday, Dec.13, and their home game with Winthrop has been moved to Saturday, Jan.31.
In addition, Charlotte athletics director Judy Rose and her counterpart at Davidson, Jim Murphy, have agreed in principle to a four-year commitment to play the Davidson-Charlotte game on the same weekend in December, beginning with a home game at Charlotte in the 2009-10 season.
“I'm very pleased we are going to be able to continue the 29-year history of this game,” said Rose. “It would have been a shame for this community for that not to happen.”
Rose and 49ers coach Bobby Lutz said without the assistance of Peele and Hickman, the game would not have taken place this season.
“The only possible day that would work was Dec.13. Randy had nothing to gain from this but to help us play the game,” Lutz said. “I think that says a lot about him.”
Davidson athletics director Jim Murphy said the Wildcats now have to reschedule their home game with Chattanooga, which was scheduled for Dec. 13. Murphy said he is optimistic that the game will be rescheduled for sometime before Jan. 1.
Murphy said he was glad that Davidson and Charlotte could work out an agreement. “This is a rivalry we are very much interested in continuing,” he said.
Last Saturday, Davidson coach Bob McKillop notified the Observer it was unlikely the two schools would play this season. On Tuesday, Rose and Murphy began discussions themselves to find a mutually agreeable date.
Rose said the four-year agreement to play the game on the same weekend was also important to ensure this problem doesn't arise again.
Davidson (29-7) reached the NCAA tournament's Midwest Regional final before losing to eventual national champion Kansas last season. Charlotte (20-14) advanced to the National Invitation Tournament and beat Davidson 75-68at Halton Arena.
Charlotte leads the series with Davidson 26-10. In seven seasons, the teams played twice.