The Virginia basketball program had a historically bad weekend in Charlotte. Apparently, though, the experience of becoming the first No. 1 seed in NCAA tournament history to lose to a 16 seed in the opening round wasn’t traumatic enough to prevent at least one member from wanting to return to the Queen City.
Cavaliers associate head coach Ron Sanchez has been hired to lead the program at UNC Charlotte. He will replace Mark Price, who was fired in November after a little more than two seasons as coach of the 49ers. The 11th coach in the program’s history will be formally introduced next week.
“Ron Sanchez embodies everything we could possibly want in a head basketball coach,” newly hired 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. This is a great day for the Charlotte 49ers.”
This will be the first head coaching opportunity for Sanchez, a native of the Dominican Republic who has been a member of national Coach of the Year Tony Bennett’s staff since 2003 at Washington State. He is known as an effective recruiter responsible who has helped land many of the players who helped turn UVA into a consistent ACC frontrunner.
Sanchez takes over a program that has not been to the NCAA tournament since 2005 after earning bids in seven of the previous nine seasons.
The 49ers have suffered through four straight losing seasons, including a 6-23 campaign in 2017-18 that was finished under interim coach Houston Fancher.
“I have waited a long time for the right fit and I truly believe in the leadership of this department,” Sanchez said of Charlotte. “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.”