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Saturday, July 8, 2000

Dougherty delighted

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Neil Dougherty looked remarkably fresh on Friday morning considering he had driven solo all night from Kingsport, Tenn.

Dougherty, who has spent the last five seasons as an assistant coach on Roy Williams' Kansas University men's basketball staff, was in the far eastern corner of Tennessee to watch his 15-year-old son and namesake perform in a national high school basketball tournament.

"His team (KC Nets) beat the No. 1 seed, but then lost to Team Georgia," Dougherty reported. "They're still playing, but I had to come back."

Dougherty had to return to Lawrence because he and Williams were scheduled to work on the logistics of their summer recruiting trips before departing for the Nike Camp in Indianapolis this morning.

By driving all night, Dougherty missed the Thursday night media session in which Williams ended the week-long suspense and announced the would remain at Kansas.

"I missed it, but I heard a lot of it replayed on the radio while I was driving in," Dougherty said.

Dougherty departed Kingsport about 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and arrived in Lawrence about 7:30 a.m. on Friday and was in his office about two hours later.

"It was a long drive," Dougherty said, "but it helped me clear my thoughts."

From a personal standpoint, Dougherty felt that whatever Williams decided would place him in a win-win-win situation.

"I was comfortable with any of the possible outcomes," the 39-year-old native of Leavenworth said. "If he stays, that's good. Or if he leaves, I go with him. Or I stay and try for the job here. Those are all pretty good outcomes."

Joe Holladay, who is entering his eighth season on Williams' staff, also missed Thursday night's announcement.

Holladay was at Fort Benning, Ga., for the graduation of his son, Mathew, from U.S. Army Ranger school. Mathew Holladay graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1999.

After the graduation ceremony, Joe Holladay went on a recruiting assignment without returning to Lawrence.

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