After UNCC voted to add football late Thursday morning, a news conference was held in an adjoining room and on the lecturn was a helmet, green with a wide gold stripe down the middle, and the UNCC insignia in gold, white and black.
Students came into the room after the speakers spoke and the questions had been answered and posed for pictures with the helmet. One man bent down and kissed it. So far, 49er football has been a concept. But that helmet, one of about five in the school's possession, makes it real. You see the leather chin strap and the Riddell insignia in red letters and you want to put the thing on and play for the home team.
Many students and alumni already have performed admirably. This was a grass-roots victory. The 49ers didn't go to Charlotte with their hand out asking for money. They quietly began to solicit pledges from within. They showed they were willing to commit to the cause. Rather than trickle down, interest trickled up.
Chancellor Phillip DuBois, athletic director Judy Rose and the administration then did everything right. This was a stirring victory for the university, "a transforming moment," DuBois called it.
After the vote, the trustees were asked to give themselves a hand. Students and alumni also deserve an ovation.
Great work. And congratulations.