February 25, 2022 – The Charlotte Hornets Foundation today announced Noah Monroe, a Concord native and current sophomore at the University of North Carolina (UNC), has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the Rick Bonnell Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship, which will award $10,000 annually to a journalism student enrolled at a North Carolina college or university, was created to honor the legacy and impact made of late Charlotte Observer Hornets beat writer Rick Bonnell, who passed away in June 2021.
“Rick Bonnell was a part of the Charlotte Hornets family since our inaugural 1988-89 season, so in addition to recognizing his commitment to journalism, love of the NBA and passion for mentoring young reporters through this scholarship, we are really happy to keep his memory alive for many years to come,” said Hornets President & Vice Chairman Fred Whitfield. “Out of many deserving applicants, Noah’s unique story touched our review panel, which included former Charlotte Observer colleagues and Rick’s children, Claire and Jack. We are all excited to see what Noah accomplishes as he pursues a career in sports journalism.”
Like Bonnell, Noah began writing in high school, covering his school’s sports teams, and plans to become a sports journalist after graduation from college. At UNC, Noah serves as a senior sportswriter for The Daily Tar Heel, where he has covered events including head men’s basketball coach Hubert Davis’ introductory press conference and the NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Final Four.
“We are so excited for Noah to be the recipient for the first annual Rick Bonnell Memorial Scholarship and want to share our gratitude toward the Charlotte Hornets Foundation and all those who contributed in our father’s memory,” said Claire and Jack Bonnell. “Thank you to all who applied. There were so many deserving candidates. We wish Noah the best in his academic endeavors!”
In his application for the scholarship, Noah described wanting to walk in his father’s footsteps in more than one way. Amazingly, Noah’s father David, who managed Panthers.com, the official website of the Carolina Panthers, for 17 years, was once an aspiring journalist who shadowed Bonnell, accompanying him to a Hornets practice to interview then-Hornets Head Coach Gene Littles and helping to edit one of his stories in the Observer.
A pediatric cancer survivor, Noah also shared a mantra that has guided him so far, and that he’ll continue to remember as he works towards his degree and a career in journalism like his father and Bonnell: “Never give up and don’t take anything for granted.”
The funding for this year’s $10,000 scholarship was supplied by donations made to the Charlotte Hornets Foundation in Bonnell’s memory. The charitable arm of Hornets Sports & Entertainment, the Charlotte Hornets Foundation is committed to inspiring a philanthropic culture and strengthening the region through intentional partnerships, charitable giving and social projects in the areas of education, hunger, military care and wellness. The Charlotte Hornets Foundation encompasses the efforts of the entire organization, including the Charlotte Hornets, the NBA G League Greensboro Swarm, the NBA 2K League Hornets Venom GT and Spectrum Center.