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Charlotte 49ers coach Will Healy danced to MC Hammer to raise $150,000 for mental health

Charlotte Observer - 3/9/2020

Mar. 8--For Charlotte 49ers football coach Will Healy, Saturday's "Dancing With The Stars" benefit with the Charlotte Ballet was all about managing some understandable anxiety.

That, and trying to forget where he was and what he was doing.

"I think I talked myself into not being nervous," Healy said after his performance with Charlotte Ballet'sRaven Barkley. "My last comment to (my wife) Emily was if all these people were watching me play golf, they'd have expectations. But they didn't have any expectations for this. I'm a terrible dancer.

"But I had a blast."

The Healy-Barkley pairing was one of six at the annual event at the Knight Theater in uptown Charlotte. Healy said he was able to raise about $150,000 for UNC Charlotte's student mental health initiatives. The event ended up raising a total of more than $1.4 million for various charities around Charlotte.

Wearing a gold jacket with "UNCC" emblazoned across the front, Healy looked comfortable enough (certainly not terrible) while dancing with Barkley to MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This."

Midway through the 2 1/2 -minute performance, Healy and Barkley were joined by 11 49ers football players: Chris Reynolds, Jaison Williams, Dylan Ratliff, Preston Brown, Henry Segura, Tre Harbison, Markees Watts, Peter Agabe, Jaelin Fisher, Damon Weldon and Taylor Chandler.

The players had only rehearsed a couple of times, but their effort was admirable. The dance came to a resounding climax when Healy donned 49ers mascot Norm The Niner's head -- as he did on occasion during last season's "Club Lit" post-game victory celebrations. Reynolds and Ratliff paused and did a chest bump in the air before they left the stage.

Healy and Barkley received marks of 8, 9 and 8.5 from the three judges.

"You can dance, Will," said judge Matthew Hart. "It was great."

"I loved your moves," said judge Patty Lambert. "You've got the swag."

"I think we've seen a preview of your touchdown dance," said judge Tom Glick, president of Tepper Sports and Entertainment, which includes the Carolina Panthers.

Healy said he and Barkley rehearsed about 15 times throughout February. Dancing in a room with walls made of mirrors was intimidating, he said. While other contestants had been practicing for four months, Healy said his schedule made it impossible for him to start that early.

Also, Barkley rehearsed last week in a protective boot she had to wear after spraining her ankle.

"I felt like I was worrying about whether one of my players would be able to play Saturday or not," Healy said. "She was such a trooper. I don't know how they picked her, but she was the right one for me."

Healy had plenty of support in the crowd, with several people chanting "Forty Niners," as he took the stage. On hand were athletic director Mike Hill, deputy athletic director Chris Fuller and co-defensive coordinator Marcus West.

The judges' winner was Martin Godwin, managing director or Cameron Carmichael, who danced with Charlotte Ballet'sSarah Lapointe to benefit the Dilworth Center. The people's choice was Jill Olmstead, chief human resources officer at Lending Tree, who partnered with Juwan Alston to benefit Charlotte Family Housing.

"I kept telling myself I'm doing this for all the right reasons," Healy said. "That was the most important part."

David Scott: @davidscott14

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