Indiana University men’s basketball coach Mike Woodson has announced that Hoosier great Calbert Cheaney, who spent the last three years as an assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers, will join his staff as Director of Player Development in a non-recruiting coaching role. This will be his second stint assisting IU, he was Director of Operations in 2011-12 and added the responsibility of overseeing the players internal and external player development in 2012-13.
“I could not think of anyone better suited to be part of this program than Calbert Cheaney,” said Woodson. “Every team or program he has been a part of after his playing career, he has had an immense impact on. As a player in college and as a pro, his experiences are as good as it gets. Our players can ask him, how do you become successful when you get to college? What can I do to help my team win championships? What do I need to do to be an All-American or National Player of the Year? How did you become a first round draft pick who played 13 years in the NBA?
“I think he can share his experiences of how teams expect their players to work every day and get the most out of their ability,” added Woodson. “He’s done it, he’s lived it and I don’t think you will find anyone who has a bad thing to say about him. He is a high-character individual who loves this program.”
Cheaney spent the last three seasons on the staff of the Pacers with an emphasis on player development. From 2018-20, he was an assistant coach for the Erie BayHawks and College Park Skyhawks of the NBA G League. Prior to that, he spent three seasons (2013-16) as an assistant coach at Saint Louis University. In 2013-14, Cheaney was part of a staff which saw the Billikens finish 27-7, win the Atlantic 10 regular season title and make an NCAA Tournament appearance. In his first experience at the collegiate level, IU made back-to-back Sweet Sixteen appearances, won its first outright Big Ten title in 20 years in 2013 and was rated No. 1 in the country for the majority of that second season. He began his coaching journey following his retirement as a player. He spent two years in the Golden State Warriors organization and in 2009-10 he was a special assistant in the front office and in 2010-11, he was on the bench as an assistant coach.
“I’m extremely grateful that Mike Woodson thought enough of me to be a part of the program that played such an important role in shaping me into the man I am,” said Cheaney. “I’ve known Coach for a long time and I hold him in the highest regard. I have nothing but love and passion for this program and I can’t wait to return and start working with our players and staff. Helping them get the most out of themselves is something that I enjoy and brings me great satisfaction when they see their work pay off on the court. My family and I are thrilled about this next chapter in our lives.”
The Evansville native starred at Indiana from 1989-93. A three-time All-American, Cheaney is the Big Ten and IU’s all-time leading scorer with 2,613 career points. In his four seasons with the Hoosiers, he led IU to a remarkable 105-27 record and the NCAA Tournament each year, including a Final Four appearance in 1992.
As a senior in 1992-93, Cheaney averaged 22.4 points and 6.2 rebounds and garnered virtually every national player of the year accolade, including the Naismith College Player of the Year honor and the John R. Wooden Award. For his career, Cheaney averaged 19.8 points and 5.2 rebounds and shot 55.9 percent from the field. He still holds the school record for field goals made with 1,018. He is one of four players in school history (Scott May, Kent Benson and Victor Oladipo) to earn national player of the year accolades.
Cheaney was the sixth player chosen in the 1993 NBA Draft by the Washington Bullets, beginning an NBA career that spanned 13 seasons with Washington, Boston, Denver, Utah and Golden State. He appeared in 825 regular-season games and amassed career averages of 9.5 points, 3.2 boards and 1.7 assists. In 1994-95 with the Bullets, he averaged 16.6 points and 4.1 rebounds, both career highs.
Cheaney and his wife, Yvette, have one son, Julian, a graduate of DePaul, and one daughter, Sydney, who earned her degree from the University of Miami.