INTERIM TAG REMOVED: Fearne named Head Basketball Coach at Charlotte

Mike Hill, Director of Athletics for the Charlotte 49ers, announced on Monday the official appointment of Aaron Fearne as the 14th head coach of the men’s basketball team. 

Fearne, who has been serving as the interim head coach since June 2023, will be available to the media at noon on Tuesday, Feb. 13. 

“From the moment he took over the basketball program last summer, Aaron Fearne has demonstrated that he is the right man for this job,” Hill said. “In our first year in the AAC, he has our team competing for a league championship and has completely re-energized our fan base. The players believe in him and so do we. This is a great day for Niner Nation.” 

UNC Charlotte Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber said: “Coach Fearne has done phenomenal work since assuming the role of interim head coach. In just a few months, Coach Fearne, his staff and players have won the hearts of students, alumni and Niner fans everywhere. We look forward to a bright future under his leadership.” 

Under Fearne, the 49ers are 15-8 overall and 9-2 in their debut season in the American Athletic Conference, largely due to their formidable defense, which is ranked 24th nationally in fewest points allowed. 

“It is an unbelievable honor to lead Charlotte Basketball,” said Fearne. “I am thankful to the players and staff for believing in me last summer and wanting me as their head coach and I am humbled that Mike, Chancellor Gaber, and the board of trustees believe in me as well.” 

Highlights of the season so far include: 
● The first eight-game conference winning streak in program history. 
● A historic victory over No. 17 Florida Atlantic, 70-68, the first triumph over a ranked opponent at home since 2010 and the first overall since 2013. 

Under Fearne’s leadership, the community and student body have rallied behind the team, highlighted by a sold-out crowd of 8,201 at Halton Arena for the rivalry game against ECU on Feb. 3, the first capacity crowd in 11 years. The night before the game, students created Fearneville, camping out to secure prime seating in the packed student section. 

“I am beyond grateful to my family, the students, the fans, and the community that has rallied behind us over the past nine months,” Fearne added. “This all would not be possible without their support. I am looking forward to facing the challenges and successes that lie ahead together.” 

Predicted to finish 13th out of 14 teams in the AAC, the Niners have defied expectations, holding the top position for nearly three weeks. Beyond the halfway mark of the conference slate, Charlotte sits in second place, just one game out of the lead. Furthermore, Fearne has achieved the best start through 23 games for a first-year head coach at Charlotte since Bobby Lutz in 1998-99.

Fearne was appointed interim head coach on June 7, 2023, following a successful tenure as an assistant coach with Charlotte spanning five years, and was promoted to associate head coach before the 2022-23 season. During his time as associate head coach, Charlotte achieved significant milestones, including 22 victories, the most since the 2000-01 season, and the program’s first postseason tournament title with a victory in the CBI Tournament. 

Before joining Charlotte, Fearne spent nine seasons as head coach and eight seasons as an assistant coach with the Cairns Taipans of Australia’s National Basketball League, leading the team to the NBL finals twice and earning Coach of the Year honors in 2015. Additionally, he served as head coach of New Zealand’s U-19 National Team in 2018. 

The 49ers will return to Halton Arena on Thursday, Feb. 15, to face UTSA. 

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