After six up and down seasons, Doherty fired

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Head coach Matt Doherty reacts during an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma State, in Dallas on Dec. 28. 2011. (Associated Press)

After his sixth season on the Hilltop and posting a record of 80-109, men’s head basketball coach at SMU Matt Doherty has been relieved of his coaching by Athletic Director Steve Orsini on Tuesday.

In a statement released through the athletic department Orsini talked about Doherty’s time here on the Hilltop.

“I appreciate Matt’s efforts and service here at SMU,” Orsini said. “He always represented the university with class and I never doubted his effort or desire to win, but it was time for a change. We wish him the best.”

Doherty was fired after a 13-19 campaign that saw the Mustangs fall in the first round of the C-USA Tournament for the sixth consecutive year under Doherty’s reign even after a promising 20-win campaign last year.

In a statement released through the athletic department, Doherty talked about how he understands the game being a business and at the end of the day they did not win enough games.

He also was proud of the way the team carried themselves and worked day in and day out.

“I am grateful to the players and staff for their hard work and the way they represented the University. I always stressed to them the importance of controlling what you can control your attitude and effort,” Doherty said. “They were great about focusing on every practice and game. I think that shows the type of character these young men possess. I wish SMU and these young men nothing but success.”

Orsini said a national search for a head coach would begin immediately.

“We have set a goal of top-25 status for our men’s basketball program and want to compete for BIG EAST championships,” Orsini said. “With our membership in one of the best basketball conferences in the nation, the Crum Basketball Center, our $40-plus million renovation of Moody Coliseum and our location in the fertile recruiting grounds of Dallas, we believe we have the pieces for a championship-caliber program.”

Some early names being rumored are Tony Bedford, a former Texas Tech player and an assistant at Marquette, Doc Sadler, most recently the former Nebraska and also was UTEP’s coach, Pat Knight, who replaced his dad, Bobby, at Texas Tech and is currently at Lamar, as well as Jeff Capel, the former Oklahoma coach and current Duke assistant.

SMU’s new coach may come from a national search, but developing SMU’s relationship with Dallas schools where talent is plentiful will be crucial to the success of the program moving into the Big East under new leadership.

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