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Wednesday, July 12, 2000

Doherty learned trade at KU

New Carolina coach made just $16,000 per annum in '92

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Editor's note: Chuck Woodling wrote this story in May of 1992 after Matt Doherty accepted a restricted earning's coaching position at Kansas. He had been an assistant at Davidson.

Let's see now, if your salary is $16,000 a year, your monthly paycheck is $1,333.33. Weekly that breaks down to $307.69. By the hour it's $7.70 about twice the minimum wage if you work a 40-hour week, which Matt Doherty won't.

"It might be more like 50 cents an hour," Doherty said by phone from the Davidson basketball office in North Carolina.

On Aug. 1, Doherty will come to Kansas and become one of thousands of college coaches all over the country whose salary is regulated by the NCAA. They have been dubbed restricted-earnings aides. The NCAA forbids them to earn more than $12,000 a year from athletic department funds plus $4,000 in summer camp revenue.

That's right. One, six, comma, oh, oh, oh.

"Michael Jordan gets 16 grand," Doherty quipped, "for winning a dunk contest."

In other words, while Jordan continues to do a yeoman job of propelling the average salary of the 1982 North Carolina NCAA championship basketball team to an astronomical plane, Doherty has taken another step toward tearing that figure down. He'd done it once before.

After the cheering stopped in Carolina back in the early 80s, Jordan moved on to Easy Street as an NBA first-round draft choice.

Meanwhile, Doherty moved on to Wall Street when he signed on as a bond salesman for Kidder, Peabody Inc.

Two different jobs, yet certainly two jobs with tremendous earnings potential. Jordan is still playing for the Chicago Bulls, as you know. Doherty, however, is three years departed from the bulls and the bears. No doubt Wall Street is full of fabulously rich bond salesmen. The difference between them and Doherty is that they want to be bond salesmen.

"I left because I didn't like it, quite frankly," Doherty said. "When I hit the snooze alarm about six times every morning I decided it was time to do something else."

That something else, Doherty thought, might be in broadcasting, so he went to Charlotte to pursue a career in the electronic media and perhaps as a real estate salesman, or whatever.

"While I was in Charlotte I was coaching an AAU team of 14-year-olds," he related. "While I was doing that, I remembered something coach (Dean) Smith said about how he didn't care about how much money he made because he was doing something he enjoyed doing. That struck a chord."

So when an opportunity popped up to become an assistant coach at nearby Davidson, Doherty jumped at it even though he would earn only about half as much money as he made while he was on Wall Street.

And now he has just about halved what he was making at Davidson by deciding to join Roy Williams on Mount Oread.

"Again it's not the money," he stressed. "I'm not worried about that right now. It doesn't matter. I'm coming in like a dry sponge.

"I'm going to be saturated with knowledge at Kansas."

What price, after all, do you place on a dream?

"The thought sends chills down my back and arms," he said. "Ever since I met coach Williams I wanted to sit down the bench from Roy and be part of Kansas basketball."

What price do you put on happiness?

"I really enjoy coaching," he stressed. "I really enjoy what I'm doing."

Nevertheless, Doherty doesn't have to take a reality pill to realize a second income would be nice, and it just so happens his wife works in a dentist's office and does a little modeling on the side.

"I'm gonna put her to work," Doherty confirmed, good-naturedly. "She's gonna work, baby."

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