In 2017-2018, Niner Nation finally became united and raised its voice to express a vote of no-confidence in 27-year Athletic Director, Judy W. Rose.
Mid-2017: After the 12th consecutive year of no NCAA Tournament appearances for Men’s Basketball and a disappointing, regressive season for second year Coach Mark Price, passionate members of Niner Nation begin picking up pace and volume of emails to Rose, Phil Dubois, and the Board of Trustees, demanding answers and accountability.
September 16 and 23, 2017 - Charlotte 49ers Football loses at home to FCS North Carolina A&T 35-31 (in front of a record crowd) and Sagarin 128th rated Georgia State 28-0, respectively. HC Brad Lambert’s 49ers start 0-4 for the first time in program history, and still do not have a home win vs. an FBS opponent in third full FBS season.
October 21, 2017 - Alumnus Jon Lotti, P.E., pays for an aerial banner to be flown for 3 hours over the Homecoming tailgate before the game against re-born UAB in its first season back from hiatus. The banner reads, “FIRE JUDY ROSE! HELP WANTED NEW A.D. NEEDED!” Ironically, the 49ers win their first game of the season and first home FBS game on a miracle two-point conversion in OT, 25-24. It would be the Niners only win in 2017. (UAB would go on to finish 8-5). The banner generates media attention and galvanizes the fan base.
November 25, 2017 - Charlotte Football loses to Florida Atlantic, 31-12 at home in its worst-attended game ever. The season finished 1-11, and Coach Lambert’s record is 17-41 overall. In the post game article, Coach Lambert does not fear for his job, foreshadowing things to come. “I am the right guy for this place.”
November 27, 2017 - Charlotte AD Judy Rose announces Coach Lambert will be retained, will fire demoted OC Jeff Mullen and DC Matt Wallerstedt, and will demote Interim OC Greg Adkins to Running Backs and O-Line coach. Our contemporaries, in their third seasons of FBS football, either won 6+ games and went to a bowl, or won 3 games and the coaching staffs were fired. Lambert’s retention is the last straw for many in Niner Nation.
November 28, 2017 - David Scott of the Charlotte Observer releases two articles. The first article is a question and answer interview with Rose. The interview is mindblowingly out of touch, in which she attempts to defend the decision to retain Lambert, sliding attendance and football and basketball, and herself against increasingly vocal fans calling for her job. In response, Rose doubles down and says “I’ll continue to do what I’ve always done,” not realizing that is the root of our problems.
The second article, a feature interview with Lotti about the banner, is mostly benign, but features (briefly) at the end, a “point, counterpoint” section with quotes from Rob Dibble in opposition to Rose’s continued tenure, and “Grady Davis,” an alleged 1991 alumnus, speaking in defense of Rose. Within 20 minutes after the article appears, this portion of it is removed, due to Scott’s “concerns about authenticity” of the Grady Davis quote.
November 29-December 5, 2017 - Charlotte 49ers fans flood the airwaves of WFNZ610 and ESPN730. #FireJudyRose trends on twitter, and achieves over 400,000 impressions in a week.
December 2, 2017 - ESPN’s “College Gameday” pregame show is in Charlotte at Romare Bearden Park in Uptown. At least 6 different “FIRE JUDY ROSE” signs are visible for the duration of the broadcast, with at least one appearing behind each commentator, so that every camera angle has a prominent sign in view. Another individual that lives in an apartment complex highrise bordering the park flies a “FIRE JUDY ROSE” painted bedsheet from their balcony overlooking the crowd. The movement gains even more momentum, with several national bloggers and twitter accounts, including RedditCFB and others, sharing the screenshots of the signs.
December 5, 2017 - Charlotte Basketball hosts ACC opponent Wake Forest in Halton Arena, losing 80-57 in a game that was never close, and poorly attended. Several students display visible “FIRE JUDY ROSE” signs at the game. At the end of the game, audible “Fire Judy” chants rain down on her from alums and students alike. The game also features an alumni-sponsored Fire Judy Rose Snapchat filter, which is used with great frequency during the game.