CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- There won't be any players for more than a year, the first game isn't until 2013 and ground hasn't even broken yet on a stadium.

But Charlotte's fledgling football program now has a coach.

The school hired Wake Forest defensive coordinator Brad Lambert on Tuesday, giving the 46-year-old his first head coaching job.

Athletic director Judy Rose decided on Lambert, who guided one of the nation's worst defenses last season, over more high profile candidates who showed interest in the job, including former North Carolina State coach Chuck Amato and former Carolina Panthers safety Mike Minter.

The 49ers will begin play in the Football Championship Subdivision, with the goal to eventually move to the NCAA's top tier of competition.