Charlotte 49ers OF Cory Tilton

Cory Tilton is a man with a plan.

The senior centerfielder may be focusing on the present during his final season on the field for the Charlotte 49ers, but he is planning for the future of the athletic departments throughout the University of North Carolina system.

As a finance major, Tilton is studying risk management, which peaked his interest in the concept of business continuity. He is now heading up a student project that is developing the first business continuity plan for the UNC system’s athletics departments.

“It is basically having a back-up plan if something was to happen to one of the sites of competition or to anything internally, what would the business – or athletic department in this case – do to carry out normal operations?” Tilton said. “The schools themselves have a continuity plan if there was a shooting or a tornado on campus, but our school has no concrete plan or policy when concerning athletics. This project we are working on can help lay the framework for such plans.”

School athletic departments are businesses and still need to generate revenue in order to function normally.

“Schools make a pretty substantial amount of revenue from sporting events, so we’re trying to develop a plan, if something were to happen, how the athletic department would carry out their normal business operations,” Tilton said.

Tilton was recently named one of 30 baseball student-athletes that are candidates for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, honoring NCAA Division I seniors with notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.

A native of Cary, N.C., Tilton was a recruited walk-on at Charlotte, but remained dedicated to program despite not even having a spot on the roster as a freshman. He is now in his third season as a full-time starter.

“I was definitely going against some odds being a recruited walk-on at a good program like Charlotte,” Tilton said. “It was a bleak outlook my freshman year. I didn’t think I was going to play a whole lot, but when I was given the opportunity I did well, and have been able to continue to do so. I’m glad I put the hard work in because I’m really seeing the fruits of hard work pay off right now.”

Tilton boasts a 3.81 GPA in the classroom, and also makes sure he stays involved in the community events, especially Multiple Sclerosis Awareness events. Tilton’s mother suffers from the debilitating disease.

“A lot of people don’t realize that it is a big commitment to play a college sport,” Tilton said. “A lot of the guys, including myself, work in the community on the weekends and also take care of their responsibilities in the classroom. It’s a pretty big commitment – a lot more than people tend to give us credit for.”

The 49ers will look to improve on a 7-2 season record when they host UNC Asheville for a three-game series beginning March 4.

2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award candidates

Need to Know
• University of Miami head coach Jim Morris was not in the dugout at Tuesday’s Florida Four Classic as the Hurricanes lost 4-2 to USF. Morris is still recovering at University of Miami Hospital after gall bladder surgery on Feb. 25, and complications from an infection following the surgery. He had been expected to be back with the team for a series at Florida beginning March 4, but a date for his return is still unknown.

• The second game at Tuesday’s Florida Four Classic at Steinbrenner Field saw No. 6 Florida State fend off No. 1 Florida 5-3 as the Seminoles handed the Gators their first defeat of the season. Jayce Boyd keyed the Seminoles five-run third inning with a two-run triple, while centerfielder Mike McGee took the mound for the ninth inning and struck out the side to earn his first save of the season. The multi-talented McGee is the reigning Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week after batting .600 with 11 RBI, nine runs scored and two home runs as he propelled FSU to a 4-0 week.

• California centerfielder Chad Bunting garnered Pac-10 Player of the Week honors after batting .583 with four runs scored, seven RBI and two home runs at the Caravelle Resorts Tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Golden Bears swept the field, including a 17-0 drubbing of then-No. 20 Coastal Carolina. Bunting enters the week batting a team-leading .435. No. 22 Cal continues its’ farewell season at the USD Tournament in San Diego beginning March 4.

• If you happen to catch a University of Memphis baseball game this month, except to see some facial hair on the players and coaches. The Tigers are participating in “Mustache March” to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Memphis by growing mustaches all month long. Donations will be collected during Tiger home games, and fake mustaches will be sold to fans for $1.

• Georgia College earned its first No. 1 ranking since 2006 in the Collegiate Baseball Division II poll after sweeping the University of Philadelphia in four games last weekend. The Bobcats are just one of seven Peach Belt Conference teams that are nationally-ranked. UNC Pembroke vaulted to No. 3 after a series victory against North Georgia last weekend. After improving to 14-2 on the season with a convincing win against Benedict on Tuesday, the Bobcats head to No. 11 North Georgia for their first PBC series of the year.

• After breaking into the NCBWA/ poll at No. 25 this week, Christopher Newport University won its 10th consecutive game with a 6-3 defeat of Piedmont College on Tuesday. It is CNU’s third-longest winning streak in school history, and the Captains’ best start since 2003. Junior Matt Shoemaker has provided the spark for the Captains’ offense this season with a .425 batting average, 17 runs scored, four homers and 22 RBI in 11 games.

Quick Hits
• Division II’s Franklin Pierce began the 2011 season in grand fashion on Feb. 26 as senior left-hander Brian Maloney fanned a career-best 16 batters in a complete-game 8-3 victory against Dominican. A native of Brockton, Mass., Maloney gave up just five hits in the outing, and struck out six consecutive batters at one point.

• West Texas A&M junior Jess Cooper was selected Lone Star Conference Hitter of the Week after batting .706 with six extra-base hits and nine RBI as the Buffs swept Northwest Missouri State last weekend. At 14-2, the Buffs are off to their best start in program history. WTAMU will put its nine-game winning streak on the line in a weekend series against No. 16 Cameron in Division II action.

• After outscoring foes at the MLB Urban Youth Invitational 82-15, UC Irvine climbed into the latest USA Today/ESPN Division I Top 25 at No. 19. The unbeaten Anteaters will try to maintain their winning ways at Saint Mary’s in a three-game series beginning March 4.

• UT-Tyler jumped 11 spots to No. 11 in the latest NCBWA/ Top 25 on the merits of an 11-0 start to the season. Senior right-handed pitcher Chad Sherman has shined for the Patriots, compiling a 3-0 record with a trio of complete-game performances. Sherman earned the American Southwest Conference’s Pitcher of the Week award for the second time this season after tossing a three-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts in a 6-0 win against Howard Payne last week. Sherman has fanned 30 batters and allowed just two earned runs in 21 innings.