After finishing his undergrad with a 3.98 GPA, the redshirt senior has received recognition for his efforts
Lee McNeill puts the student in student-athlete.
After joining the Charlotte 49ers football program as part of the inaugural class in 2012, McNeill has shown he knows how to excel both on and off the field. Through seven of his eight semesters as an undergrad, McNeill had a 4.0. A B in one class lead the redshirt senior to graduate with a bachelors in Business Management and a 3.98 GPA.
When looking at colleges, McNeill also considered Ivy League options as well as the 49ers.Ultimately he wanted to go somewhere that allowed him the opportunity to play football.
“I really was focusing on going somewhere I can play football. I looked at a lot of schools in the Ivy League. Charlotte seemed like a good fit because of the coaching staff and all of the people here. I guess you could say I looked at the academic side, but I just wanted to go somewhere where I could do everything I wanted to do,” McNeill said.
McNeill utilized his final year of eligibility on the field to begin his MBA.
“It’s been an incredible opportunity and such a blessing to get the opportunity to go to college on scholarship. I did my best to get all of my classes in and graduate on time,” McNeill said.
“Having the extra year left from redshirting, I figured it would be a great opportunity to get my MBA and go ahead to graduate school. It was my plan all along when I first came here to finish in four years. It’s worked out very well as far as how things have turned out.”
His academic achievements haven’t gone unnoticed. McNeill was named the 2016 C-USA Scholar-Athlete of the Year in Football. He also has become the first Charlotte football player to receive College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic all-District team. McNeill is now on the ballot for the CoSIDA Academic all-American team.
“Academics have always been really important to me. I just had great professors and great people around me. I’ve had an opportunity a lot of people don’t have, and that’s the opportunity to come to college for free,” McNeill said. “I feel like it’s my obligation to work as hard as I can in the classroom. It’s worked out well for me. It’s something I’ve taken a lot of pride in.”
Forget the Athletic Director’s list, McNeill’s name has been on the Chancellor’s list every year he has been in the Queen City. The Indian Trail Native was also awarded the 2016 Hugh Mcenery Award, which is given to male student-athlete with the highest GPA over the two prior semesters.
The quarterback/placekick holder has also been featured on the 2015 C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the 2015 C-USA all-Academic team.
McNeill is on track to graduate his MBA program next December. As far as what he wants to do after that, he isn’t quite sure. One thing that is certain: he wants to stay in the sports world.
“I did an internship with the Charlotte Motor Speedway in their marketing department which I really enjoyed. I want to somehow have a career that includes sports and business. I know I want to be involved in sports and the competitive nature of it. It’s what I know and it’s what I have a passion about,” McNeill said.
Redshirting his freshman year in preparation of the 49ers inaugural season will prove to be beneficial for McNeill as he enters a competitive field.
“I felt it was an excellent opportunity for me, especially with my extra year of eligibility. I feel like it puts me in a good position to separate myself from other candidates in these competitive sports jobs,” McNeill said.
McNeill has become a leader on the field and in the classroom for his fellow teammates. By leading through actions, he has built a rock solid foundation for academics as well as athletics for the 49ers.
“I always try to encourage the guys to do the right thing, and I do through my actions. There are a lot of people out there that will say something, but they won’t necessarily do it. I’ve always been big on following the guys that I see doing the right things day in and day out,” McNeill said. “I hope the way I work in the classroom and on the field encourages guys.”