Coach of the week: Matt Doherty

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(Courtesy of SMU Athletics )

June Jones is the resurrecting coach of college football and Head Coach Matt Doherty is the resurrecting coach of college basketball.

“I love building things” Doherty said, referring to building up many programs.

This is Doherty’s 21st year of coaching and his 11th as a head coach. Coach Doherty is 67-90 in five seasons on the Hilltop and 157-161 overall as a head coach.

Doherty graduated from North Carolina in 1984 with a degree in business administration.

In 1982, Doherty started alongside Michael Jordan on the National Champion squad. Doherty started his coaching career at Davidson College, in Charlotte, N.C., as an assistant coach.

After three years in Charlotte, Doherty moved west to Kansas Univversity for a seven year stint as an assistant under Roy Williams.

The Jayhawks averaged 29 wins per season and made the NCAA tournament all seven years while Doherty was there.

He recruited eight McDonald’s All-Americans, coached five All-Americans. Eight KU players under Doherty went on to the NBA.

Doherty went north in 1999 to South Bend, Indiana to coach the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

In their first season with Coach Doh, the Irish had their best record in a decade.

The Irish finished 22-15 and were the runner-up in the 1999 National Invitational Tournament (NIT).

The Irish defeated five ranked teams, including two wins over Connecticut, the defending National Champion.

Doherty coached three more future NBA players.

In 2000, Doherty returned to his alma mater to coach the Tar Heels.

UNC went 26-7 and although they were ranked number one during the season, the Tar Heels made an early exit in the NCAA tournament.

Doherty had two more All-Americans and future NBA players on his squad.

After a successful recruiting class of three future NBA players that would lead UNC to their 2005 National Championship, the Tar Heels only made it to the NIT.

For the next two seasons, Doherty took a break from coaching and did analyzing for ESPN and CSTV while also serving as a scout for the New York Knicks.

Doherty returned to coaching at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla., as the head coach of the Owls.

In only one season, Doherty turned around a 10-18 record from the previous season to a 15-13 record with an outstanding 14-6 record in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Then, Doherty left the Sunshine State for the Hilltop for the 2006 to 2007 season.

In his first season, the Mustangs started 11-3, finished 14-17, and rose in the RPI rankings 60 spots.

It took a few years for the program to truly rise but in Doherty’s fifth season, the Mustangs had their first 20-win season in over a decade.

“Chemistry was a huge part of it,” Doherty said.

The Mustangs made it to the semifinals of the CollegeInsiders.com Tournament (CIT).

SMU ranked seventh in NCAA in field-goal percentage, 13th in three-point percentage, and 38th in free-throw percentage

“Our offense is like June’s football offense: the spread offense, it’s a read-and-react offense,” Doherty said.

The Mustangs only have four returning players who totaled for 28 points per game last season.

“We have a lot of talent, but we’re very inexperienced,” Doherty said.

Doherty will begin his sixth season here at SMU Friday night at Moody Coliseum at 7 p.m. against McMurry University. 

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