CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – The Charlotte 49ers have hired Virginia associate head coach Ron Sanchez as their new coach following a 13-17 season.
Sanchez will be introduced at a news conference next week.
“Ron Sanchez embodies everything we could possibly want in a head basketball coach,” Charlotte athletic director Mike Hill said in a statement. “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.”
Sanchez has been an integral part of two-time national coach of the year Tony Bennett’s staff for the last 12 years, helping build Washington State and Virginia into national powers.
Virginia finished the regular season as the nation’s top-ranked team, but became the first No. 1 seed to get upset by a No. 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament when the Cavaliers fell to UMBC.
Still, the Cavaliers won 31 games and Sanchez’s overall body of work is strong.
He has spent the last nine seasons with Virginia, including the past three seasons as associate head coach.
“I have waited a long time for the right fit and I truly believe in the leadership of this department,” Sanchez said. “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 becomes the 11th men’s basketball coach in Charlotte history and will have the task of rebuilding a struggling program. Charlotte has not won 20 games in a season since 2013 and has not made the NCAA Tournament since 2005.
Charlotte fired coach Mark Price in the middle of last season. Houston Fancher served as interim coach, but he was not retained.
During Sanchez’s time at Virginia, the Cavaliers have won 212 games, three ACC regular-season titles and two ACC Tournament titles while making six appearances in the NCAA Tournament and one NIT appearance. The Cavaliers have earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament three times. Virginia has won 29 or more games in four of the last five years.
Washington State played in the NCAA Tournament twice and the NIT once while Sanchez was an assistant coach under Bennett. Sanchez played a major role in the recruitment of Klay Thompson, who went on to become an NBA All-Star with the Golden State Warriors.
He also served as an assistant coach in 2013 for the Dominican Republic national team, which finished fourth at the FIBA Americas Championship and qualified for the 2014 World Championships, its first appearance at worlds since 1978.