Charlotte names Aaron Fearne as interim head coach for 2023-24 season

CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte 49ers athletic department announced on Thursday afternoon that recently-named interim basketball coach Aaron Fearne will continue in his head-coaching role for the 2023-24 season as the Niners enter their first season in the American Athletic Conference. 

Fearne, 49, has been at Charlotte for five seasons following nine years of professional coaching in Australia. 

The program had initially elevated him to an interim status on June 7, just one day after fifth-year coach Ron Sanchez announced he would be leaving the Niners to reclaim his assistant position at Virginia under Tony Bennett. 

“I’m grateful to Mike, Chancellor (Sharon) Gaber and all involved in the search process,” Fearne said in a press release. “I’m prepared to lead this program. We are committed to bringing a tough, competitive brand of basketball to the American Athletic Conference. We will play with pace, attack the glass, and apply pressure to our opponents in all phases of the game.”

Prior to the 2022-23 season, Fearn took on a new role as Sanchez’s associate head coach after  having an active role in attracting three of Conference USA’s top-ranked recruiting classes.

“Aaron has the tools required to lead this program, and our basketball team believes in him,” Charlotte athletic director Mike Hill said. “He has considerable experience as a head coach and his leadership ability has been on full display during a very challenging time. He is widely respected in basketball circles, both college and professional.”

Hill gave an indication that the unusual timing of the coaching change played a role in how the Niners’ search was conducted.

“After conducting an accelerated search at an unconventional time of year, Aaron emerged as the right man at the right time. We are pleased to have him lead the Niners and look forward to an exciting new brand of Charlotte basketball.”

The Niners’ upcoming season will be a follow-up to a 2022-23 campaign where they won 22 games (the most since the 2000-01 season) and won the CBI Championship as the program’s first ever postseason tournament title.