College Sports

Here’s why next Charlotte 49ers AD should be grateful for angry fans

Charlotte 49ers Mark Price, Anthony Vanhook break down Saturday's win

Charlotte 49ers senior Anthony Vanhook, left, and head basketball coach Mark Price discuss Saturday's 82-66 home win - which snapped a four-game losing streak -over Southern Miss.
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Charlotte 49ers senior Anthony Vanhook, left, and head basketball coach Mark Price discuss Saturday's 82-66 home win - which snapped a four-game losing streak -over Southern Miss.

One question about the resignation of Charlotte 49ers’ athletic director Judy Rose: If she knew last summer that she was going to leave, why did she fire basketball coach Mark Price in mid-December? This one doesn’t fit. If you’re know you’re out, why contribute to the mess your predecessor will inherit?

I like Rose personally. When a public figure leaves, the lesser among us want the person to be all good or all evil. Rose did good work. She developed relationships with Charlotte’s business community, relationships to which all those fine athletic facilities attest.

But Charlotte the school has lost Charlotte the city, and she was in the middle of it. Fans are owed a reason to drive to campus for football and basketball games, and Rose ceased to give them one. Rose trusts her instincts when she hires a head coach, and gambles on candidates that lack head coaching experience. Her instincts have betrayed her.

I was a proponent of football and of Mark Price. Recruiting was new to him. Could he recruit? We never got the chance to find out. He didn’t, either.

Football is coming off a one-victory season. I liked going to games there. But why would I now? Why would you? Why would anybody?

The school’s ancillary sports are not unimportant. But only two sports drive fans — football and men’s basketball. This can’t come as a surprise. The anger of fans also can’t come as a surprise.

The 49ers should be grateful for that anger. Apathy is the enemy. Anger means that fans care.

The 49ers can’t hire their next athletic director on a whim and a guess. They need somebody credible who will fight for them. Does the administration care about the two money sports? Is the administration willing to commit to those sports?

Prove it.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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