Thursday, March 15, 2012

SMU Fires Former Tar Heel

(Gerald Martinez/Getty Images)
A major factor in the Roy Williams-era at North Carolina will always be the impudence that got Ol’ Roy out of Kansas and back to Chapel Hill.  Of course, that would be the unsuccessful run by Matt Doherty who went 53-43 in three seasons at UNC.

That said, Doherty did recruit the team that won the 2005 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball National Championship under Williams tutelage.

Now, Southern Methodist University has fired Doherty after six seasons in which he failed to take the Mustangs to the NCAA tournament.

Doherty went 13-19 this year and 80-109 in six years with SMU. Athletic director Steve Orsini said he thought the school — which hasn’t made the NCAA tournament since 1993 — had the potential to reach the national rankings and compete for championships. SMU will move from Conference USA to the much tougher Big East in 2013.

Doherty, a former Tar Heels player, was the national coach of the year in 2000, his first season at North Carolina. But after two subpar seasons and complaints from alumni and players, Doherty was pressured to resign in April 2003 to make way for Williams.

Doherty became the coach at Florida Atlantic in 2005. One year later, SMU offered him a five-year contract that reportedly paid $600,000 a season. A school spokesman said Doherty has one year left on his current contract, but declined to say whether he would receive a buyout.

SMU, best know for its football program’s “death penalty,”  built a new basketball practice facility — allowing Doherty to move practices out of a church gym — and has announced a $40 million renovation of Moody Coliseum.

But Doherty won more than four conference games only twice in six years. SMU ended this season Wednesday with a 74-56 loss to Marshall in the Conference USA tournament. SMU has not won an NCAA tournament game since 1988.

SMU will move to the Big (L)East in 2013.

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