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Let’s Speculate! Potential Charlotte head basketball coach candidates


Welcome to Let’s Speculate! on Coaches Database, where we go through programs that are or may soon be looking for a new head coach and speculate who they may hire next.

Today’s program is Charlotte, coached by Ron Sanchez since 2018 (left for Virginia staff job).

  • Aaron Fearne – Charlotte associate head coach (and current interim head coach)
    • We will start with Fearne, who has been at Charlotte since 2018 and was promoted to associate head coach last year before the 49ers went on to win the 2023 CBI. He was named interim head coach this week, though the release noted that a national search was underway. Fearne would provide continuity and would be an affordable option for Charlotte moving into the AAC. On the flip side, AD Mike Hill went a little outside the box for his football hire in November so maybe sticking with the internal guy isn’t splashy enough for his taste.
  • Takayo Siddle – UNC Wilmington head coach
    • Siddle would be an enormous get for Hill and Charlotte, though we’re not sure he would take the job. He has a good thing going at UNCW right now, so the best selling point would be the step up into the bigger AAC while continuing to work and recruit the same area. Siddle is from North Carolina, played and coached at Gardner-Webb and also has stints as an assistant at both UNCW and NC State under Kevin Keatts. Mutual interest is a question mark.
  • Mike Morrell – UNC Asheville head coach
    • Morrell is in a similar situation as Siddle, being a successful mid-major coach in the state that could be interested in making the move up to a higher competition level while staying in state. Morrell has been at UNCA since 2018 and after winning just four games in his first year is coming off a 2023 Big South title and trip to the NCAA Tournament. Interest is a question mark, as Morrell could very well be a candidate at Clemson if that job finally opens up next spring (he started out his career there 2007-10).
  • Jordan Mincy – Jacksonville head coach
    • The Dolphins had a bit of a back slide last year after a great first year under Mincy, but his star has not faded so much that he shouldn’t bee considered for this job. There is also a connection between Mincy and AD Mike Hill, who overlapped for a few years at Florida – Mincy was an assistant while Hill was an associate AD. Mincy went 21-10 during his first season at JU and earned the 2022 Joe B. Hall Award.
  • Ben McCollum – Northwest Missouri State (D-II) head coach
    • The name making the rounds over the weekend is McCollum, who has been linked to dozens of D-I jobs over the last few years while running a D-II dynasty at NW Missouri State. He’s 365-86 overall in fourteen seasons there, winning nine MIAA titles and FOUR D-II NCAA Championships (they were also the favorite in the cancelled 2020 tournament). Will Charlotte be the job that McCollum finally makes the jump for? Seeing multiple D-II head coaches recently (and quickly) making waves at the D-I level is a good sign for McCollum’s future, as he is arguably the most successful head coach in the country right now.
  • Kotie Kimble – Miami (FL) assistant coach
    • If Hill doesn’t hire a sitting head coach, he may want to head to Coral Gables to try and get Kimble back to Charlotte. Kimble was with the 49ers from 2018-22 before taking a job with Jim Larrañaga at Miami. Now 14 months and one Final Four appearance later, Kimble could be the guy who takes over for his former boss Sanchez and leads the program into their new AAC era.
  • Joel Justus – NC State assistant coach
    • Justus seems to be headed towards a D-I head coaching job in the near future and Charlotte could be that right fit for both sides. Originally from North Carolina, Justus returned to his home state last year after one year at Arizona State and seven before that at Kentucky. He has some head coaching experience at the prep level, with stints at Woodberry Forest (VA) from 2008-12 and Davidson Day School (NC) from 2012-14.
  • Justin Gainey – Tennessee associate head coach
    • A High Point, NC native and former NC State player, Gainey has been through the coaching ranks since getting his first staff gig at his alma mater in 2006. He last coached in his home state in 2014, with stints at Marquette, Santa Clara and Arizona before arriving in Knoxville in 2021. Gainey has been part of two successful seasons with the Vols (52-19 overall, 2022 SEC Tournament title, two NCAAs and one Sweet Sixteen) and seems poised to take that next step and become a head coach.
  • Tom Crean – former head coach at Marquette, Indiana and Georgia
    • Venturing into the former head coaches without a current coaching gig world, Crean is arguably the best option. His tenure at Georgia didn’t go well but he did plenty of good things at both Marquette and Indiana that warrant him getting another shot as a head coach. Charlotte and the AAC are potentially a better fit for the 57-year-old Crean, who is fantastic on television but continues to express a desire to get back onto the sidelines.