SportsUNC Charlotte

Charlotte’s Aaron Fearne Finalist For National Coach Of The Year

In a testament to his immediate impact on the collegiate basketball landscape, Aaron Fearne, the dynamic head coach of the Charlotte 49ers, has been propelled into the national spotlight as a finalist for the esteemed Joe B. Hall National Coach of the Year Award for the 2023-24 season, as announced by This prestigious honor is reserved for the country’s top first-year head coach in NCAA Division I Men’s College Basketball, celebrating the fresh talents who have made significant strides in their inaugural season.

Since taking the reins on February 12, 2024, following an interim period that began on June 15, 2023, Fearne has masterfully guided the 49ers through a remarkable journey, culminating in a 19-12 overall record and a commendable 13-5 in the American Athletic Conference play. This stellar performance in their debut season under Fearne’s leadership not only shattered expectations but also etched the team’s name in the annals of Charlotte basketball history with several record-setting achievements:

  • Equaled the program’s record with 13 conference wins, a feat last seen in the 1997-98 season.
  • Matched the 2019-20 record for home victories at Halton Arena with another 13-win milestone.
  • Charted the program’s first-ever eight-game winning streak in conference play.
  • Surpassed the regular-season win tally with the most victories since the 2012-13 season.
  • Secured a momentous win against No. 17 Florida Atlantic, marking the program’s first victory over a ranked opponent at home since 2010.

Defying preseason predictions that pegged the Niners to finish 13th in a 14-team American Athletic Conference, Fearne’s squad soared to a third-place finish, marking their highest conference standing since 2006. This resurgence under Fearne’s guidance also reignited the Niner Nation, leading to the first Halton Arena sellout in over a decade and the highest average attendance recorded since the 2017-18 season.

Among 31 first-year head coaches, Fearne’s .613 winning percentage secures him a spot in the top tier, highlighting his exceptional debut season. The Joe B. Hall Award, named after the legendary Kentucky coach who succeeded Adolph Rupp and brought the Wildcats to significant heights including a national championship in 1978, represents the pinnacle of achievement for rookie coaches. Coach Hall’s legacy, marked by his passing in January 2022, continues to inspire the coaching community and serves as a benchmark for success in the field.

As the basketball world turns its eyes to Phoenix, AZ, the venue for the announcement of the 2024 Joe B. Hall Award during the men’s Division I Basketball Championship, the anticipation builds around Fearne’s potential to clinch this accolade. Should he win, it would not only celebrate his remarkable first season but also underscore the promising future of Charlotte 49ers basketball under his stewardship. The decision rests in the hands of a distinguished 10-member committee, tasked with selecting the year’s most outstanding first-year head coach, a title for which Fearne has undeniably made a strong case.

MORE >>>