The Charlotte 49ers didn't exactly make national headline news by the hiring of Brad Lambert as their first head football coach -- which is expected to be officially announced Tuesday at a press conference but our David Scott is reporting today.
Lambert is an obscure assistant -- as just about all assistant football coaches are -- who is currently the defensive coordinator for Wake Forest. He's coached some very good players at Wake, but his most recent defense was pretty horrible in the Division I-A statistics.
So the hiring will, of course, be ripped by those who love to jump to conclusions with Internet comments and on talk radio. Lambert is not a "name" and is not currently at a football power. Thus, many will conclude, he must be the wrong guy.
The hiring reminds me of UNCC AD Judy Rose's recent hire of Alan Major -- also in his 40s, also a career assistant and also really wanting to start his own program. Major has struggled mightily in his first season as a 49ers coach. He did have one advantage when hired in that his most recent employer was Ohio State, which currently has a great basketball program. That bought him a little more credibility.
Lambert, though, will have to do this the hard way. He doesn't have the name recognition of a Chuck Amato (who certainly shouldn't have gotten the job) or a Mike Minter (who was also interested)or anyone like that. He will have to recruit for a program that won't start playing football until 2013 and won't play it at the highest level for many years after that.
Still, I say you've got to give the guy a chance. With what UNCC was paying, they weren't going to get Steve Spurrier.
Lambert obviously must have wowed with his interview, because he's not the obvious choice. And so what? The "name value" of a coach has a very short shelf life once you start playing games (ask the Carolina Panthers about their experience with George Seifert). I'll be interested to hear what Lambert has to say Tuesday, because he just signed on for a difficult job that also has some massive potential.