The Charlotte 49ers start-up football program took the fast track to the FBS. The program debuted in 2013 and played for two years (2013, 2014) as an FCS Independent before making the jump to the FBS and Conference USA in 2015. The 49ers were invited to be a member of Conference USA in the summer of 2012 – before holding their first practice.
The 49ers will move to Conference USA in 2015 with an opportunity to gain full FBS member status with bowl eligibility in 2016.
Head coach Brad Lambert and his 10-man full-time staff have 115 years of collegiate coaching experience. Lambert (26) and coordina- tors Jeff Mullen (24) and Matt Wallerstedt (23) each have over 20 years of collegiate coaching experience.
Top returners for the 49ers include a pair of 1,000-yard performers. RB Kalif Phillips rushed for a school-record 1,441 yards (131.0/gm) and 20 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2014. Slot receiver Austin Duke had a school-record 1,373 receiving yards (124.8/gm) as a redshirt sophomore in 2014. Phillips had six games with 150 or more rushing yards and seven 100-yard games. Duke had six games with at least 100 receiving yards including two games of over 200 yards.
Safety Branden Dozier topped the 49ers with 86 tackles as a junior while NT Larry Ogunjobi led the squad with 11.5 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks as a red-shirt sophomore.