MONTGOMERY, Ala. ----- A coaching veteran with more than 15 years of experience at the NAIA level, as well as stops at NCAA Division I, II and III institutions, Auburn University at Montgomery has announced Michael Cheaney as its new head men's basketball coach.
Cheaney takes over the helm of the Warhawks after spending the past four seasons as the head coach at Voorhees College in Denmark, S.C. He becomes just the third men's basketball coach in AUM history, joining Herbert Greene and Larry Chapman.
"I am very excited about the opportunity to join the AUM staff," Cheaney said. "I am appreciative of the time and effort of the search committee and thankful that Athletic Director Steve Crotz has entrusted me with leading this team. The administration and other coaches within the athletic department seem to be a cohesive group and all have the same vision, and that is very appealing. The tradition of AUM men's basketball is one recognized nationally and I look forward to the challenge of getting the program back to that premier level."
During his tenure, Cheaney led Voorhees to a 72-55 record and a trip to the NAIA National Tournament. In his first season with the Tigers, Cheaney helped the team to 16 wins, more than triple the total from the year before. He followed with a 22-9 mark in his second season, helping the team to its first national ranking in more than 10 years.
In his third year, he guided Voorhees to a 23-12 record, won the Association of Independent Institutions Conference Tournament and made an appearance in the NAIA National Tournament. The Tigers eventually fell to former Southern States Athletic Conference rival and traditional power Lee University. Last season Voorhees finished 11-18, but picked up a pair of victories against SSAC foe Brewton-Parker and an 89-84 win against Talladega College, which finished No. 11 in the final NAIA Coaches' Top 25 Poll.
Prior to the four-year stint with the Tigers, Cheaney was an assistant coach at NCAA Division II Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C., for three years. While with the Blue Bears, he helped recruit seven junior college recruits and four Division I transfers with just three athletic scholarships.
Livingstone finished 35-21 during his time on the bench, winning the school's first conference tournament game in more than 10 years and defeating three nationally-ranked teams. The Blue Bears also earned the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association's highest GPA award among men's basketball programs.
Before arriving at Livingstone, Cheaney spent two seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Central Arkansas, where he helped the Bears to consecutive 20-win seasons after the team finished 5-22 the year before his arrival. In his first season UCA finished 20-10, while the team finished 21-6, were Co-Champions of the Southland Conference and ranked first in the region in team defense the following season.
In addition, Cheaney has made coaching stops at Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio, and at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at DePauw University.
Prior to joining the coaching ranks, Cheaney was a standout student-athlete at Kentucky Wesleyan University. During his playing career, Cheaney earned the Senior Award as the Panthers' outstanding athlete, set the school record for field goal percentage and was named the team's Most Improved Player.
Cheaney earned his bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Kentucky Wesleyan in 1996. He went on to earn a master's in sports management from Indiana State University. He is also active in the community, serving as a mentor for the Boys and Girls Club, as well as a gym supervisor for the YMCA.
"We are delighted to welcome Michael Cheaney to Auburn University at Montgomery to help our student-athletes build a championship in men's basketball," Crotz said. "Michael brings a wealth of coaching experience from the NAIA and all NCAA levels. Coach Cheaney is a proven recruiter that brings tremendous passion and enthusiasm to our job. In addition to his success on the court, he is committed to graduating student-athletes."