Of the many things that Charlotte has to offer, both the city and the University are the top contenders. However, some might say that Will Healy, Charlotte’s newest head football coach, is now on that list.
After more than seven years with the Charlotte 49ers and accepting the challenge of beginning a division one football program, Brad Lambert coached his final game as 49ers head coach and was sent out with a deserved win and a gatorade bath.
Of course, whenever a big change such as this is made, it affects a lot of people, including the players. Many of the Niners showed up to Healy’s first Charlotte Football press conference to shake hands with their new coach, but a week and a half prior, they were celebrating a big win and celebrating Lambert — the man and coach that he was to them. Several of the 49ers took to social media to say thank you to Lambert after the win over FAU.
“Both of them are great coaches. Coach Lambert definitely knew what he was doing. I feel like Coach Healy might have a recruiting edge and I’m just excited to see what he brings to the table.” said running back Benny LeMay.
Less than two weeks later, Healy was introduced at a press conference which essentially lasted about an hour — and not by any means because he was boring those in attendance. Healy had a lot of good things to say as did Athletic Director Mike Hill.
“Clearly a rising star, a proven recruiter, a proven developer of talent, a man of high character and integrity, and someone who values culture. I think what we got in Will Healy is this: Will Healy reflects our program and our institution. He is a young, hungry up-and-comer and a force to be reckoned with. He is gonna kill it in recruiting, I’m just telling ya; mark my words, he is going to kill it in recruiting. And he is going to make our football program a major factor in this city, in this state and in our conference.” said Hill.
With someone new in the head coaching position, it’s common that the rest of the coaching staff sees changes as well and sure enough, come fall 2019, Charlotte fans will see an entirely new coaching lineup on the sidelines, including some of Healy’s former staff at Austin Peay. Meanwhile, the players themselves will get acquainted with the coaches for the start of the 2019 season.
“I feel really good about it. I feel like Coach Healy brings a lot of energy and I feel like he’s excited to get here, and you want someone who’s gonna be here like we have [had] in the past and like we’ll have now.” said defensive back Ben DeLuca.
But what’s so great about Charlotte? Why should we be intrigued by this program? Why are we bothering to write about it? Less than 48 hours after accepting the job, Healy already knew and was convinced of why well before being offered the job.
As mentioned before, the press conference introducing Healy to Niner Nation was far from boring and was actually captivating.
“This place is a goldmine. What you have in front of you, I don’t know if even you understand the potential of this place. I promise you when we have opportunities to bring recruits on this campus…people will fall in love when they drive through the gates. The vision, the excitement, the opportunities that this campus and this football program have are through the roof,” said Healy. “And I am so fortunate and lucky…to have a chance to be the head football coach here because this place is going to be really special.”
Healy told Hill he would’ve walked all the way to Charlotte from Chattanooga just to have an opportunity to talk about this job. That kind of passion about this program is what he hopes to help build.
As far as looking ahead for this program, Charlotte may still have a lot of work to do. Although they have always had heart for the game, fans got to really see more of that this past season.
“I think you look at the character of a team through the adversity that they went through,” said Healy. “Defensively, it’s one of the best turnarounds in college football this year, but I think you went from an opportunity where you hoped you could win to now they expect to win. So, I think the foundation has been laid to take the next step and do it in a hurry.”
It was a season of record-breaking, lightning delays and a season full of examples as to why this team and Charlotte, overall, is such a special place and program. Much like Healy, the football program is young and growing and has so much passion within.