The former Simon Gratz All American and experienced NCAA coach returns to hometown to lead Wolves back onto the court
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania today announced it has hired Terrell Stokes as the new men’s head basketball coach to lead the Wolves back onto the court after missing the 2020-21 regular season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Stokes comes to Cheyney after spending the last 12 years as the assistant coach for the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) where during his tenure he helped lead the team to the NCAA Division II tournament for the first time in 30 years and earned the school its highest national ranking in history (#10). He started at UDC when the team was under a probation period with only one win that season, ultimately turning around the program with 12 wins the following year and subsequently gaining a berth in the NCAA Division II tournament in his third season. Prior 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,” said Stokes. “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.”
Similar to his coaching success, Stokes earned high rankings while playing for the University of Maryland where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in family studies. During his four years with the Terrapins, the team made NCAA tournament appearances every year, which included two Sweet 16 appearances, and had the highest national ranking in the school’s history (#2). He holds the record for the most assists in a game and has the all-time assist-to-turnover ratio.
“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. “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.”
Stokes is no stranger to the Philadelphia area. He grew up in the city and graduated from Simon Gratz High School where he was a three-time basketball All American. He was part of the 1993 National Championship team and was the highest-ranked point guard in the nation his senior year. He’s also Gratz’ all-time assist leader and holds the most triple doubles in school history.
“It is a great honor to return to my hometown and bring my coaching and playing experience to Cheyney,” said Stokes. “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 enters the head coaching position 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 guide the university’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,” said Bagby. “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 plans for returning to the courts for the 2021-22 season as Covid-19 pandemic restrictions 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 and is not part a specific league or conference.