Coaching Search Profile: Calbert Cheaney

  • 03/23/2021 4:47 pm in

After four seasons in Bloomington, Archie Miller is out as Indiana’s head coach and Scott Dolson’s search for a new leader for the program is underway.

Inside the Hall will profile many of the candidates being discussed for the job over the coming days. Our ninth profile takes a look at Calbert Cheaney.

The Big Ten’s all-time leading scorer, Indiana legend Calbert Cheaney is universally loved by the fanbase.

A native of Evansville, Cheaney played for Bob Knight from 1989 through 1993, racking up 2,613 career points and winning multiple national player of the year awards as a senior in Bloomington. He was also a three-time All-American who won 105 games in his career as an IU player.

The smooth shooting lefty went on to be selected No. 6 overall by the Washington Bullets in the 1993 NBA draft and played 13 seasons in the association. Cheaney averaged 9.5 points per game over his NBA career with his best season coming in the 1994-95 season when he averaged 16.6 points for the Bullets.

After his retirement from the NBA, Cheaney began his coaching career in 2009 when he joined the Golden State Warriors as a special assistant in the front office. Cheaney then joined the bench staff as an assistant coach under former Hoosier Keith Smart for the 2010-11 season.

From there, Cheaney joined the Indiana staff under Tom Crean as the director of basketball operations for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. While there was some talk at the time about Cheaney potentially joining the IU staff as an assistant coach when Bennie Seltzer took the Samford job in 2012, he remained as director of operations and Crean brought in assistant coach Kenny Johnson to replace Seltzer.

Following the 2012-13 season, Cheaney left Indiana to join the Saint Louis University staff as an assistant coach under another former Hoosier, Jim Crews.

Crews was dismissed by Saint Louis in 2016 and Cheaney took a two-year hiatus from coaching before joining the Erie Bayhawks (New Orleans Pelicans) of the NBA G-League as an assistant coach. Cheaney spent the 2019-20 campaign in the G-League working as an assistant coach for the College Park Skyhawks (Atlanta Hawks).

Cheaney appeared at Hoosier Hysteria in October of 2019 to show his support for the program on its biggest recruiting night of the year. A month later in November of 2019, he was enshrined to the National College Basketball Hall of Fame.

In November of 2020, Cheaney was hired by the Indiana Pacers as an assistant coach for player development, which is his current role.

Former Hoosiers like AJ Guyton and Alan Henderson have publicly advocated for Cheaney as a candidate who deserves consideration. Despite his lack of experience as a head coach, here are two things not up for debate: Cheaney’s character and his understanding of the game of basketball.

He is well-liked by those who have worked with him, his former teammates and those who know him well. Cheaney has also played the game at the highest level, is one of the most recognizable IU basketball players to ever put on the uniform and has now spent 10+ years as a coach in the collegiate and professional ranks.

The question, clearly, is whether the 49-year old Cheaney is ready to assume leadership of one of the most storied programs in college basketball history. Many Indiana fans are itching to get a former player or someone with ties to the program back in Bloomington. If that’s the direction Dolson wants to go, Cheaney could warrant a strong look.

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