Get to know Charlotte Men’s Basketball Head Coach Aaron Fearne 

Mar 5, 2024 | Uncategorized

Last month, Aaron Fearne became the 14th head coach of the Charlotte men’s basketball team. 

Fearne, who has been serving as the interim head coach since June 2023, spent nine seasons as head coach and eight seasons as an assistant coach of the National Basketball League’s Cairns Taipans, which plays in Australia’s top professional league. As head coach, he led the team to the NBL finals twice and was named Coach of the Year in 2015. In 2018, he served as head coach of New Zealand’s U-19 National Team.

Since his arrival in Charlotte, the team has seen a recent surge of energy and success. They finished the 2022-23 campaign by winning the College Basketball Invitational Championship, the program’s first ever postseason tournament title, and won 22 games, the most since the 2000-01 season.

Charlotte is currently in third place in its first season at the American Athletic Conference (AAC). Making the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005 remains a very tall task. It would involve winning three games in three days during the AAC Conference Tournament later this month. 

As March Madness approaches, we caught up with Coach Fearne to learn more about his coaching philosophy, background, and what he likes to do when he’s not court side. 

What mottos or inspirations do you use to get your athletes in sync?

We talk about “Just us.” Just the people inside our huddle – not outside the huddle – because there’s obviously always a lot of noise outside that can be distracting, and you don’t want that when you’re trying to journey on the same path together. The other thing, probably more than anything, on the court, we talk about “Stepping to it.” You have to be prepared to take the challenge on. That’s the physical side of it – the mental, the emotional side of it – just being able to step to that challenge.

Other than winning games, what do you think has played a part in re-energizing the Charlotte fan base?

The winning is great, but it’s the physicality, effort, and competitive spirit the group plays with that’s more inspiring than anything. I think the community has appreciated that more than anything. The supportive base wants and enjoys that. We have a fairly rowdy support base, I’ll put it that way. They appreciated the guys getting out and getting after it. 

You’ve been in Charlotte 6 years now. What have been your impressions?

I live in Harrisburg, and the amount of construction and development going on around this area has been quite intensive. It’s definitely growing significantly, but so is campus. The number of new buildings has been amazing, and it shows that there’s growth and potential around the area.

What do you do when you’re not on campus?

I’ll get out and do things around the home, in the garden or I’ll work on the lawn. I try to get outside, work and think. My son is a walk-on here at Charlotte, and my daughter plays at Bowling Green. My wife is a teacher and coach, so we can never really get away from anything, because everyone plays or coaches. 

What else should the community know about the team?

The AAC is the second most competitive conference when it comes to close games. We’ve been on ESPN seven or eight times this year, so it’s good publicity for the program. But for the community, there are a lot of things you can support from a sporting perspective: softball, track, soccer – so those who are interested in sports should get out and support their university. You don’t have to be an alum. Students and staff support local businesses, so they should feel free to turn around and do the same thing. 



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