Photo credit: Neil Redmond, Freelancer
Sanchez vacates position to return to Virginia as Associate Head Coach
Charlotte49ers.com posted the news at 12:15pm ET today, and after 5 up-and-down seasons, Sanchez is returning to first chair beside Tony Bennett. Sanchez tenure concluded with a post season run in the CBI, where the Niners brought home the championship. His final record at Charlotte will be 72-78 (.480).
What they said
Per the official release:
“This is a bittersweet day for me and my family as I step down to pursue other opportunities,” said Sanchez. “It has been a tremendous privilege to lead the 49ers basketball program over the past five years and I want to thank Niner Nation for its support. I will be forever grateful to my staff, players and the University. I can only hope that the impact we made on our student-athletes is as strong as the impact they have made on us.”
“Ron took over a proud but struggling program and carefully rebuilt it into a 22-game winner. He has led with class, dignity and devotion to our young men. His decision to step down from Charlotte was a difficult one for him and everyone associated with our program. We wish him and his family every happiness,” said Director of Athletics Mike Hill. “Our competitive goals are clear. We are driven to regularly contend for American Athletic Conference championships and return to the NCAA Tournament. We have commenced a national search for our next head coach and are excited about the future.”
Obviously, the timing is less than optimal with portal windows closing and rosters being mostly set. It appears that the exit strategy here includes a negotiated buyout, however the terms of that are not yet known.
While Charlotte experienced its first ever postseason title down in Daytona Beach, FL (the previously mentioned CBI event) this Spring, the departure of Charlotte’s top two players Brice Williams (Nebraska) and Aly Khalifa (BYU) felt like massive blows to any potential momentum that the staff had created. Might as well mention the loss of Jahmir Young last offseason to Maryland too. The build-and-develop type of system is incredibly hard to use in today’s transfer portal landscape, and is amplified when you have a hard-to-learn system.
With Charlotte’s move to the American Athletic Conference, I’ll echo how I felt about the recent Football head coaching search; “it has to be an experienced hire, right?” Clearly I missed the mark there as Mike HIll hired a 62 year old coach with no previous head coaching experience at the college level, though the interest around the program and level of recruitment have both increased since the hire of Biff Poggi.
I’ll be working on creating a list of candidates as the day goes along and hopefully share the list of potential candidates I feel could make sense later this evening.