The moment Charlotte football coach Will Healy stepped foot on campus in 2019, the program's culture changed forever.
Maybe it was his bright smile, openness with the media and fans, or of course, the immediate change in performance from his football team.
Since day one, Healy has worked hard to keep improving the culture with the 49ers in many different ways. He has noted that he believes that's what gets programs from being good to great.
Now entering Year 3, Healy has improved the 49er culture both on and off the field.
Assembling a great team starts off the field, and that's where Healy has put his time and effort. There have been new editions to the football stadium, including a brand-new turf field that sports the new Charlotte logo that debuted last year.
"You have to win recruits when they step on the field. And it's just a beautiful stadium," said Healy at Charlotte's Media Day. "When we get it to where we expect to get it, it will be second to none."
Along with new additions outside of the stadium, there have also been changes to the inside facility.
"When it comes to indoors, it's just about piecing some things together, adding some graphics. When you do that, I think you can win recruits based on your facility," said Healy. "It's just about fine-tuning it a little bit. For us, you win in the city, and you win on a vision and the university."
Healy noted that the program needs to keep up with bigger schools in the state.
"You have to win your state first," said Healy. "For us, that's the Carolinas. That's what they (recruits) look at."
The addition of 49er alums joining the NFL will help the recruiting case for the 49ers, as they will have highlights playing and pictures of former players such as former 49er and current Pittsburgh Steeler Alex Highsmith.
Bigger Stadium, Club Lit
As the program expands its horizons, the hope is for the stadium to get bigger in the future.
"You're looking at doubling the size of the stadium and suits and all those types of things that make an unbelievable game-day improvement," said Healy. "I think what you have to do now is make a demand for 16 (thousand capacity) before you make a demand for 30, and that's on us."
The aspirations are high for Healy and the team in the long-term future.
Club Lit is the most notable change to the culture at Charlotte, which is where the 49ers as a team celebrate in the locker room with lights and music. With the return of somewhat normalcy, Club Lit will likely return after a mix of cancellations and losses stopped the regular celebration.
This season, Healy and the 49ers will hope to add big games against teams to their resume, such as Duke, Illinois and, new Conference USA foe, Louisiana Tech.