If you’re a casual follower of college athletics, your first introduction to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte was probably in the late 1990s when you saw “UNC-Charlotte” on your NCAA March Madness men’s basketball tournament bracket. The 49ers made it to the round of 32 four out of five seasons from 1997 – 2001.
Since then, the school added a football program in 2013 and rebranded its athletic programs to Charlotte, in an effort to make a connection with the city of Charlotte and to create its own identity away from the UNC initials that are commonly associated with UNC-Chapel Hill, home to the famed Tar Heels.
After two years in the Football Championship Subdivision of Division I, the 49ers joined Conference USA in the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2015 and reached their first bowl game in 2019, losing 31-9 to Buffalo in the Bahamas Bowl.
A new athletics logo that was unveiled in June 2020 is the final piece of the rebranding puzzle. The logo, which is said to be more collegiate looking and timeless, replaces the current set that has been around since 1998.
The primary logo is called the All-In “C.” The school’s classic gold-mining pick represents the inside of the “C” in forest green and white. This will be the logo on the football helmet starting this fall.
The 49ers wordmark also uses block-style lettering, with a white 4 and a green “9.” The gold-mining pick appears here inside the “9.”
“The new identity captures the energy that will drive our programs to championship-level success,” 49ers Director of Athletics Mike Hill said in a press release. “e’re thrilled to have our new bolder identity that not only reflects our commitment to excellence but encompasses the pride this community has for our institution as well as our strong connection to our dynamic city.”
Another logo includes a “CLT” wordmark, which the school says will help identify with the city it represents.
“Being able to recognize the brand when we walk into a high school, to be recognizable from the get-go,” football coach Will Healy told the Charlotte Observer. “They’re going to know you’re there, prospects and coaches, and really start to identify the mark with our program. You’ve got to be able to recognize the logo. It’s extremely important that it either pops or it doesn’t, and this does.”
The logo was unveiled after the design and approval process began in April 2019, and a Charlotte alumnus was behind the firm that led the rebranding process.
It will be on all university uniforms and fields starting in the fall, with the exception of the football field, where it will debut in the fall of 2021.
See the Charlotte 49ers logo history.
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