by Donald Hunt, Philadelphia Tribune Staff Writer
Cheyney University has announced today that former Simon Gratz High and Public League basketball standout Terrell Stokes has been hired as the new men’s basketball coach. Stokes will lead the Wolves back onto the court following the 2020-21 regular season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stokes comes to Cheyney after 12 years as an assistant coach for the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) where he helped the team lad a spot in the NCAA Division II tournament for the first time in 30 years and earned the school its highest national ranking in history No. 10. He started at UDC when the team was under a probation period with only one win that season, turning the basketball program around with 12 victories the following year and subsequently getting a berth in the NCAA Division II tournament in his third year. Before coming to UDC, Stokes coached at Loyola College and Elizabeth City State University.
“Cheyney is a perfect fit to bring my coaching experience to a university that prides itself on history and culture, while looking to strengthen an athletic program that can support the academic growth it is currently experiencing,” Stokes said in a statement. “A critical part of building a team is defining and developing a representative set of core values such as hard work, dedication to the team, respect of the game, a competitive spirit and high character. Teams that possess these core values will establish a culture that will be the bedrock of a highly successful program for years to come.”
“We are absolutely thrilled that Coach Stokes chose Cheyney as the next step in his professional career and to lead our young men back onto the court this season,” said Cheyney president Aaron A. Walton in a statement. “he places a high value on players being students first and creates an environment where academic staff and instructors ensure student athletes are progressing toward their degree. We look forward to his continued success with us and providing academic guidance to our students on and off the court.”
“It is a great honor to return to my hometown and bring my coaching and playing experience to Cheyney,” Stokes said in a statement. “Since playing at Gratz, I’ve learned that players must take responsibility for their individual performance, work habits and commitment to the team and the institution. As a coach, I will provide the team with the leadership, training and education necessary to achieve these goals.”
Stokes starts his new job following Cheyney’s July 2021 announcement that Tammy Bagby, Cheyney’s former women’s basketball coach, was named the university’s new interim athletic director. She is helping to lead Cheyney’s long-term plans, which include expanding its current sports engagements.
“Coach Stokes has an impressive coaching and playing background that will greatly benefit our program,” Bagby said in a statement. “We can’t wait for him to get started and we know our student-athletes are just as excited to get back on the court.”
On May 18, Cheyney announced its plan for returning for the 2021-22 season as COVID-19 pandemic restriction were being lifted for Pennsylvania and surrounding states. The university factored all health and safety conditions into its decision to return for the upcoming season. Cheyney competes as an independent school that’s not a part of any conference.