Tuesday, July 11, 2000

Doherty named head coach at North Carolina

News conference scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CDT.


— Matt Doherty, a starter on North Carolina's 1982 national championship team, was hired as the Tar Heels' coach Tuesday.

Doherty, the coach at Notre Dame, was to be introduced at an evening news conference, the school said.

Doherty became the leading candidate after last Thursday's decision by Roy Williams not to take the job at his alma mater. Doherty worked as an assistant to Williams at Kansas.

Other coaches who learned under former Tar Heels coach Dean Smith, including the Milwaukee Bucks' George Karl and Larry Brown of the Philadelphia 76ers, took their names out of the running Monday.

Doherty, an assistant to Williams for seven years, led the Fighting Irish to a 22-15 record and a second-place finish in the NIT last spring in his lone year as coach.

Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White declined comment on Doherty's situation Tuesday afternoon. Hand-drawn signs taped to windows on the South Bend, Ind., campus implored Doherty to stay with the Irish.

"The only place for Coach D is ND," one said.

Doherty and former UNC players Jeff Lebo and Randy Wiel were mentioned as candidates still in the running Tuesday to replace Bill Guthridge, Smith's longtime assistant who led the Tar Heels to two Final Fours in three years before announcing his retirement June 30.

Wiel flew in from a coaching clinic in Spain to meet with Smith, Guthridge and other basketball officials on Tuesday in Chapel Hill. Doherty flew to Chapel Hill to meet for several hours Saturday with athletic director Dick Baddour and others.

Wiel said Doherty was a high-profile coach.

"Matt's been at Notre Dame and people see him all the way in California," he said. "Matt has a big upside. Matt's very popular, he's a good coach, he's coached a year and proven he could do it."

North Carolina officials were determined to keep the coaching job in the school's basketball family after Williams' emotional decision last Thursday to remain with the Jayhawks. Williams had been an assistant at UNC before taking the Kansas job in 1988.

The 1999 North Carolina basketball media guide listed 26 NBA and college coaches who were either former Tar Heels players or coaches.

South Carolina coach Eddie Fogler, an assistant with Williams and Guthridge under Smith, withdrew his name from consideration after Williams' decision. Karl and Brown, who both played under Smith, said the timing of the vacancy was not good for them.

The search extended into the summer recruiting season. Guthridge assistants Phil Ford, Dave Hanners and Pat Sullivan continued scouting prospects as the hiring process continued.

Doherty, 38, also a former assistant at Davidson, will take over the mantle of the Tar Heels program left by Smith, the all-time winningest coach in Division I and a two-time NCAA title winner.

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