Byron Dinkins, a long-time successful high school boys’ basketball coach in Mecklenburg County and a former Charlotte 49ers great, has joined new coach Ron Sanchez’s staff at Charlotte as director of player development.
Dinkins, 50, who will begin working at Charlotte in early June, provides a tangible connection to better days for the 49ers, who were 6-23 last season and haven’t qualified for the NCAA tournament since 2005.
“It’s an honor to have a Niner legend back on campus,” Sanchez said in a statement. “Coach Dinkins brings a wealth of experience to our staff. He has had success as a collegiate athlete, professional athlete and as a head coach. He will assist us in connecting the past with the present. I am genuinely thankful that he and his family have decided to join us.”
As director of player development, Dinkins will serve as a mentor to Charlotte’s players and a liason to Sanchez and the assistant coaches. He can break down film and scout opponents. He won’t be allowed to provide instruction at practice or recruit off campus.
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NCAA rules also prohibit the 49ers from recruiting Carmel Christian players for two years. That rule was put in place to prevent schools from hiring high school coaches or parents to non-coaching positions in order to gain a recruiting advantage.
Dinkins, who played at Charlotte from 1985-89 and is the program’s 10th all-time leading scorer (1,657 points), joins a staff that also includes assistant coaches Kotie Kimble and Vic Sfera. Sanchez, who has yet to hire a third assistant coach, replaces interim coach Houston Fancher, who took over after Mark Price was fired in December.
Dinkins is a Charlotte native who attended East Mecklenburg High. His teams at Northside Christian and Carmel Christian won four state private schools championships, most recently last season with Carmel Christian.
“It’s an honor to come back to my alma mater and be a part of the vision that coach Sanchez has for 49ers basketball,” Dinkins said in a statement. “I’m thankful for the opportunity and look forward to the challenge.”
Dinkins, who averaged 15.5 points during his career, led the 49ers to Sun Belt Conference regular season and tournament championships in 1988 and a berth in the NCAA tournament. His jersey was retired by the school in 1997. Dinkins played for the NBA’s Houston Rockets for two seasons as an undrafted free agent, then played for both the San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers in 1990-91. He finished his pro career in the Continental Basketball Association (now the G-League) and in Greece.
David Scott: @davidscott14