UNC Charlotte band will be ‘Pride of Niner Nation’

The Pride of Niner Nation will march at halftime of Charlotte 49ers’ football games next season.

UNC Charlotte officials announced Tuesday that members of the football drum line and the basketball band overwhelmingly chose the “Pride of Niner Nation” as the name of the marching band that is scheduled to debut in the 2015-16 academic year.

The marching band’s appearance will coincide with Charlotte’s move from the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) to the higher-level Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The 49ers will be football members of Conference USA.

“Selecting a name for the band has been both challenging and rewarding,” said Jeff Miller, director of athletic bands. “Our initial challenge was to filter through the names submitted by alums, students and members of the community, and identify those we felt best described our band and its role at the university.”

The Department of Music asked for marching band name suggestions about two months ago and received 366 entries, school officials said. A selection committee that included Chancellor Phil Dubois, Department of Music Chair Jay Grymes, Director of Bands Shawn Smith and Miller picked five names from the 366 entries.

There were two rounds of voting among current athletic band members. Stephen Bendl, a sophomore and member of the Basketball Band, submitted the winning name.

The new band’s uniform was unveiled during halftime of Saturday’s homecoming game against James Madison University. The front of the uniform features the pickax that is part of the logo of 49ers’ athletics. The jacket features the school colors of green and white, with metallic gold in the ax.

The uniform hat also is green and white, topped by a white plume with gold accents.