The Charlotte 49ers have found their new head men's basketball coach and he is associate head coach at Virginia Ron Sanchez.
The news was first reported by David Scott from our newspaper partner, the Charlotte Observer and confirmed later today by the Charlotte 49ers Athletic Department.
Sanchez will replace interim coach Houston Fancher who replaced former head coach Mark Price back in December.
This is the first hire of new Charlotte 49ers athletics director Mike Hill.
“Ron Sanchez embodies everything we could possibly want in a head basketball coach,” Hill said in a press release provided by the school. “His reputation is impeccable as a teacher, leader, assessor and developer of talent, and recruiter. Most importantly, he is a man of high character and integrity. This is a great day for the Charlotte 49ers.”
“I would like to thank Chancellor Dubois and Director of Athletics Mike Hill for this incredible opportunity,” said new 49ers coach Sanchez. “I am honored and humbled that they have entrusted me with their men’s basketball program. I have waited a long time for the right fit and I truly believe in the leadership of this department. I cannot be more excited to get started. Obviously, I would not be here without the help of both Dick and Tony Bennett. I learned so much from them during my time at Washington State and Virginia. My wife and children are also very excited to be part of the 49ers family.”
Sanchez has been at Virginia for 9 years under head coach and former Charlotte Hornet Tony Bennett. In his first 6 years at UVA, he was an assistant coach and rose to associate head coach in 2015.
Before arriving in Charlottesville, Sanchez was an assistant coach at Washington State under Bennett for 3 years. During his time at WSU, he was a part of a staff that led the Cougars to the NCAA Tournament in 2007 and in 2008. In 08, the Cougars made it to the Sweet 16.
In the last 5 years, the Cavaliers have made the NCAA tournament all 5 seasons with a Sweet 16 in 2013 and 2016 so Sanchez has been a part of a lot success as an assistant coach.
Sanchez is known as one of the top recruiters in the nation as well as one of the best assistants in the country.
This will be his first head coaching job for a Division 1 school.
On a side note, Sanchez's last trip to Charlotte was not a good one as the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, Virginia was upset by #16 seed UMBC Friday night at the Spectrum Center. That was the first time a #16 seed had ever beaten a #1 seed in the tournament history. All time, the #1 seed is now 135-1 in the first round of the tournament, but that one loss now belongs to Virginia.
That doesn't take away from the season the Cavaliers had as they rose to #1 in the nation for the first time since 1982. They also won the ACC regular season title and claimed the conference tournament title in Brooklyn. The Cavaliers also won 31 games-- the most in a single season in program history.
Sanchez will be announced to Niner Nation at a press conference next week.
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