Associate head coach Aaron Fearne was given the interim head coach title earlier this month while Charlotte conducted their coaching search. The school announced on Thursday that Fearne will keep that title through the upcoming 2023-24 season, effectively suspending said search until the next cycle.
“Aaron has the tools required to lead this program, and our basketball team believes in him,” AD Mike Hill said in the release. “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. 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.”
Fearne has been with the 49ers since 2018, spending four seasons as an assistant and one as associate head coach under Ron Sanchez. Born in Australia and raised in New Zealand, Fearne came to the United States to play college basketball and then returned to his home country to play professionally. He later spent seven seasons as an assistant (2001-08) and nine as head coach (2009-18) of the Cairns Taipans in Australia’s NBL. He had previously played for the Taipans for two years.
“I’m grateful to Mike, Chancellor (Sharon) Gaber and all involved in the search process,” Fearne said. “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.”
A number of names were circulating during the short search, including Milwaukee‘s Bart Lundy, Toledo‘s Tod Kowalczyk and Northwest Missouri State’s Ben McCollum. It will be interesting to see how things go this coming season and if Fearne is able to lock in the job for real.
The 49ers are coming off a 22-win season that culminated with a CBI Championship and will be heading into their first season of AAC competition in 2023-24 after many years in Conference USA. Sanchez resigned earlier this month to return to Virginia as associate head coach, the same position he held before getting hired by Charlotte in 2018.
credit to Charlotte Athletics for the image