Former Kansas assistant, NCAA head coach Matt Doherty masters motivational speaking

Gary Bedore, The Kansas City Star on

Published in Basketball

A college head men's basketball coach for 11 seasons at Notre Dame, North Carolina, Florida Atlantic and SMU, Matt Doherty certainly has the necessary credentials to support a bold comment regarding the profession.

"You look into coaching and most coaches are miserable. It is a miserable existence. It is what it is," Doherty, who also spent seven seasons at Kansas as an assistant to Roy Williams and three seasons as an aide at Davidson, said in a phone interview with The Star.

Doherty, 58, has embarked on a new career as a professional growth coach and motivational speaker and co-hosts a pair of radio talk shows in North Carolina. He answered without hesitation when asked why being a head coach in college was such a "miserable" undertaking.

"Pressure, just the pressure" Doherty said. "You have to win the next game. There's no real time to build. You are not in control. Your roster turns over every year, every summer. Guys transfer. It's just a tough existence.

"You see people who have done it for a long time. There's really a lot of respect what they've been able to deal with day in and day out, the grind of it."

Doherty, a 1984 University of North Carolina graduate who has been a frequent guest on sports talk shows the past month and a half in response to ESPN's 10-part documentary on Doherty's former college teammate, Michael Jordan, acknowledges that some of his happiest years in basketball came when he was assisting current UNC coach Williams at Kansas.


In Doherty's seven seasons in Lawrence, the Jayhawks (1992 to 99) reached one Final Four and one Elite Eight and won the conference regular-season crown five times.

"I probably enjoyed my time at Kansas as much as any of my coaching experiences," Doherty said. "My head coaching job at Notre Dame (where he went 22-15 and reached the NIT finals in 1999-00, one year before heading to his alma mater, UNC) was probably there at the top too."

Doherty, who was known as an effective recruiter at KU, says he misses game day in Lawrence.

"I think Allen Fieldhouse is the best place in the country to watch and coach a game," Doherty told The Star, "because it just has that old-school feel with 16,000 (16,300) people in it. You can't replicate that (building) any more for a lot of reasons.


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