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Sprinter shows 49ers have heart of gold

The future’s so bright ah, you know the line.

It is, though, to be sure. This week, the 49ers officially started their search for a head football coach, who will guide the program in its first season in 2013. That hire, to be made this spring, and the groundbreaking of the 49ers Football Stadium, due to take place in April, give Charlotte 49ers fans and the city of Charlotte plenty to be excited about.

A football coach. A football stadium. Saturday football, right here in our own backyard. Tailgating. Gridiron. 2013. It can’t get here soon enough.

But as I finished the release on the search for a football coach officially getting underway, I ran across another release – one that will get far less attention. About an individual, who will do far fewer interviews. And I had to think – the present looks pretty bright, too.

Darius Law, dubbed as the fastest man on campus because of his prowess in the 100 and 200 meter dashes, is an exceptional young man.

He’s a track athlete. An elite all-America track athlete. He’s a strong student. A 4.0 student. An ESPN The Magazine Academic all-America student who won the Arthur Ashe National Scholar-athlete of the Year Award. Yet the release was not about him.

Here’s a kid, a college student, who works hard -- exceptionally hard -- on his studies. He trains hard -- exceptionally hard -- as a national caliber sprinter for the 49ers track team, which competes during the winter (indoor season) and spring (outdoor season) and has dominated the Atlantic 10 Conference.

And here he is, orchestrating a campaign to benefit Samaritan’s Feet for an upcoming basketball game.Law is the President of the 49ers’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), which meets regularly to discuss issues of the day and how they can positively or negatively impact the lives and role of the student-athlete. He serves on the Atlantic 10 Conference SAAC and represents the Atlantic 10 on the NCAA SAAC.

The NCAA SAAC is the highest leadership level a student-athlete can attain and Darius is the 49ers’ first representative – no small honor. The 49ers SAAC president, Law wanted to pursue a community service project that would include all of the 49ers sports teams. He chose Samaritan’s Feet, which is headquartered in Charlotte and serves to supply shoes to those less fortunate, either in Charlotte or internationally.

He approached the Samaritan’s Feet organization, athletic department personnel and on Jan. 19, as the men’s team hosts Massachusetts, he and many of his fellow student-athletes will be busy collecting funds and shoes for Samaritan’s Feet. Head coach Alan Major will stroll the sidelines barefoot. Law will speak at the pre-game reception to Athletic Foundation members. He has already shot a video playing on charlotte49ers.com, similar to the video he shot for the SAAC’s Toys for Tots Campaign in December.

Law’s goal was to take this project to the next level. To enlist the assistance of the athletic department, the student-athletes and the Samaritan’s Feet organization. To coordinate with each group a cooperative effort to make a difference. A big difference.

Darius Law is an incredible young man. A senior, he has an extremely bright future. He’s a leader and a do-er and his own expectations and standards are set at a high level.

In the next few months, the 49ers will hire a new football coach. Here's hoping that that individual has many of the same qualities as Mr. Law.

To Get Involved: Fans are encouraged to bring brand new pairs of children's athletic shoes at the Charlotte 49ers Jan. 19 men’s basketball game (vs. UMass, 7:30 p.m.; on-campus at Halton Arena). Monetary donations will also be accepted at the game. In addition, fans can text "SHOES" to 85944 for an automatic $5 donation.

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