CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The Charlotte 49ers have a football team -- and now they have a name for their new stadium.
The school announced their 15,000-seat stadium will be named McColl-Richardson Field, in appreciation of former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl and Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, both of whom provided financial support for the football program.
The 49ers on-campus stadium is currently under construction and will be completed in August of 2012, in time for the 49ers first recruiting class to begin practice.
The 49ers will begin play in 2013 as an FCS independent.
"We have the architect of modern Charlotte and the architect of the Panthers NFL team joining forces on behalf of the university," said University of Charlotte chancellor Dr. Phillip Dubois. "Today's announcement celebrates two community leaders whose names are synonymous with football in Charlotte and with the great progress this city has made over the last 30 years. The legacies of Hugh McColl and Jerry Richardson are already firmly established across the Charlotte region. We are thrilled their names will be permanently tied to our university."
Richardson, the owner and founder of the Panthers since acquiring an NFL team in 1993, recently was the lead owner in the successful collective bargaining agreement negotiations. McColl, a banking industry pioneer who built Bank of America into one of this country's largest and most important financial institutions and made Charlotte its headquarters, was instrumental in helping Richardson bring professional football to Charlotte.
"It is quite an honor to have my name associated with such a good friend and wonderful academic institution," Richardson said. "Hugh and I both feel that UNC Charlotte is critical to the future of the Charlotte region. College football will be an important component in student life and will help the university create stronger community ties."
Said McColl on pairing with Richardson to help build the stadium: "We haven't failed on a lot of things we do together so I doubt we do on this either."
Richardson said the "one thing you will get from Mr. McColl is a real dose of modesty."
That started a series of lighthearted jokes between the two multi-millionaires at Tuesday's ceremony.
"Here's something ironic," Richardson said with a laugh. "Hugh McColl and I probably graduated with the lowest (grade point) average you can have academically and still get a degree. So it's with some degree of irony that our names are going to be on your football field."
Added McColl: "I think we had a 4.0 average... together."
Richardson said Charlotte and football have been important part of both men's lives, so they felt that getting involved was a no-brainer.
"How can you not take pride in something that we think was so important it's going to bear your own names? So it was an easy decision," Richardson said.
Then, added with a hearty laugh, "Plus we wrote some checks."
Judy Rose, the director of athletics at Charlotte, said McColl and Richardson have represented a "can-do attitude" in Charlotte.
"It is a resilient spirit that has helped the city grow to the thriving force it is today -- and now these two have chosen to share in the vision of our university," Rose said. "We cannot thank them enough for their exceptional gift and cannot be more pleased to have their names on the 49ers football field."
The 49ers will be coached by Brad Lambert, who's still assembling his coaching staff.
"For the many players who have yet to play for our team. For the many fans who have yet to cheer for our team. For the many coaches who have yet to call one play -- and for our students and alums and the many people who have worked so hard to see this dream realized -- thank you," Lambert said.