Senior Captain Leads C-USA In 3-Point Percentage
Mustangs Led By All-Conference Honoree Robert Nyakundi
Mustangs Close Regular Season At Home Then Head To Memphis For C-USA Championship
SMU Director of Athletics Steve Orsini announced that Matt Doherty was relieved of his coaching duties on March 13, 2012. Doherty, who just concluded his sixth season on the Hilltop, posted an SMU record of 80-109 and is 170-180 in 11 seasons overall as a head coach.
In 2011-12, SMU set the school record for scoring defense (60.1) while leading C-USA and ranking 20th nationally. The Mustangs also held opponents to 30.8 percent from 3-point range, which was first in C-USA (34th NCAA) and second in SMU history. On offense, the Mustangs made 248 3-pointers, which was second in a season at SMU; and the 7.8 threes per game led C-USA and ranked 46th in the NCAA. Overall, SMU finished the 2011-12 season at 13-19 and 4-12 in C-USA. Senior Robert Nyakundi led the Mustangs as he was named All-C-USA Third Team, USBWA All-District and NABC All-District Second Team. He led C-USA in 3-point percentage at 41.4% (25th NCAA) and ranked second in C-USA for threes made (2.7), was 7th in scoring (14.8) and 6th in free throw percentage (.780). Three of the top five scorers for SMU were in their first season.
Doherty finished his 21st season of coaching and 11th as a head coach at the end of the 2012 season. He has 11 postseason bids, eight NCAA Tournament berths, seven conference titles, a Final Four appearance and the 2001 Associated Press National Coach of the Year award. He has also coached 22 players that have gone on to the NBA. The 2011-12 campaign is his sixth season with the Mustangs.
Doherty was named the head men's basketball coach at SMU by Director of Athletics Steve Orsini on April 24, 2006. He was the 18th head coach in SMU history and was one of most heralded coaches ever to come to the Hilltop.
Doherty's fifth season was the most successful season at SMU in more than a decade. The Mustangs recorded their first 20-win season and first postseason bid since 1999-2000; finishing 20-15 and advancing to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) semifinals. SMU had its most wins in Conference USA (8) while leading the league in field goal (7th NCAA), 3-point (13th NCAA) and free throw percentage (38th NCAA). SMU also led C-USA and was 23rd in the NCAA in scoring defense (61.3 ppg). SMU made a team-record 277 3-pointers, finishing first in C-USA and 33rd in the NCAA in 3-pointers per game (7.9). Senior tri-captain Papa Dia led the Mustangs, earning selection to the 2011 CIT All-Tournament Team, NABC Division I All-District First Team, All-C-USA First Team and C-USA All-Defensive Team. He was also named the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year. Junior Robert Nyakundi was selected third-team All-C-USA, marking the second straight year SMU had two members named all-league.
Doherty's fourth season saw the Mustangs finish with their most league wins (7), best finish (tied for 7th) and best seed (No. 8) since joining Conference USA for the 2005-06 season. SMU finished 7-9 in Conference USA including the Mustangs' first wins over Memphis and Houston since becoming C-USA foes. SMU also finished second in the league in scoring defense in conference play, allowing just 61.0 points per game. The Mustangs held league opponents 11.9 points off their scoring average with thirteen of the league foes scoring below their average. Three C-USA opponents did not reached 50 points, marking the first time SMU held three league opponents below 50 points since the 1957-58 season. The scoring defense in league play was the best for SMU since holding opponents to 60.9 per Southwest Conference game in 1958-59. Papa Dia and Derek Williams were selected to the 2010 All-Conference USA Third Team. It is the first time SMU had multiple All-Conference selections since the 2001-02 season. Williams was also named to the NABC All-District Second Team.
Doherty's first season on the Hilltop energized the program. The Mustangs broke ground on the $13-million, 43,000 square-foot Crum Basketball Center, unveiled a million-dollar scoreboard/video board, played on national television a program record six times, and signed a recruiting class ranked as high as 24th nationally. On the floor, the Mustangs improved their RPI rank by more than 60 spots from the previous season while finishing with a 14-17 record. The squad allowed the opponents just 62.7 points per game, which was the third-best scoring defense in SMU history. The season also included a seven-game winning streak which was the longest since 1999-2000 and an 11-3 start that was the best since 2000-01.
In his second season (2007-08), the Mustangs finished 10-20 with coach Doherty's first full recruiting class. The squad went 8-5 in the final 13 home games with three of those losses in the final second of the game. The squad also made 192 3-point field goals, which is tied for the fourth most in a season at SMU; and recorded 122 blocked shots, seventh-best ever at SMU. Jon Killen was named All-Conference USA third team and Academic All-Conference. Freshman Papa Dia was named to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team. In league play, Dia finished seventh in rebounding (6.4) and 26th in scoring (10.9). Among freshmen, those ranks were first in rebounding and third in scoring.
In his third season, the Mustangs continued to build toward the future as a first-year player led the team in scoring in 27 of 30 games, which was the highest percentage in the nation. Freshman Paul McCoy led 12 times, tying the team record for a freshman. Junior Derek Williams led in scoring 10 times, junior Mouhammad Faye three times, and redshirt freshman Robert Nyakundi twice. The Mustangs improved in 13 of 19 statistical categories ranked by Conference USA, including scoring, scoring defense, overall and 3-point field goal percentage, overall and 3-point field goal percentage defense, and rebounding margin. SMU made 589 three-pointers in Doherty's first three seasons. That is the best mark for any 3-year period in SMU history. McCoy was named to the C-USA All-Freshman team and grabbed two league Rookie of the Week honors. Lone senior Bamba Fall made the C-USA All-Defensive squad.
Doherty came to the Hilltop after spending the 2005-06 campaign as the head coach at Florida Atlantic, where he led the Owls to a 15-13 season that included a 14-6 record in Atlantic Sun play, the best in school history. The 15 wins were also five more than FAU had managed in the year prior to his arrival.
Doherty possesses a dynamic basketball background that includes coaching at the highest levels as well as affiliations with some of the best teams, coaches and players in the game's history.
As a player, Doherty earned national recognition as a collegian at North Carolina, where he played in 129 games from 1980-84 under legendary coach Dean Smith. Doherty was a starter as a sophomore on UNC's 1982 National Championship team that went 32-2, playing alongside Michael Jordan and James Worthy. In all, North Carolina won at least 28 games in each of the four seasons Doherty starred as small forward and garnered three ACC regular season and two ACC Tournament titles, as well as four NCAA Tournament appearances. Doherty became only the second player in ACC history to post 1,000 points, 400 rebounds and 400 assists in a career. In his four years, North Carolina went 117-21 (.848). As a senior, Doherty received the Jim Tatum Award, which is given to the UNC student-athlete with the most outstanding achievements in his or her sport while constructively participating in the community. He graduated in four years and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 1984.
He began his coaching career in 1989 with a three-year stint as an assistant at Davidson College. He then moved on to Kansas, where he spent seven years as an assistant with Roy Williams and one of the nation's top programs. During his time in Lawrence, the Jayhawks went 202-42 (.828), posting an average of 29 wins per season. Doherty recruited eight McDonald's All-Americans and coached five All-Americans and eight future NBA players. Those recruits included Jacque Vaughn, Raef LaFrentz, Paul Pierce, Drew Gooden, Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison. Kansas would win six conference championships and play in the NCAA Tournament in each of Doherty's seasons, reaching the 1993 Final Four.
In 1999, he was named head coach of Notre Dame, and guided the Fighting Irish to their best season in a decade. In just one season, he turned around a team that was without a 20-win season since 1988-89. By the time the year ended, the Fighting Irish had finished with a 22-15 record, defeated five ranked opponents and played in the championship game of the NIT. That season, Doherty led Notre Dame to a pair of victories over defending national champion Connecticut. He also coached future NBA players Troy Murphy, Ryan Humphrey and Matt Carroll.
Following his extraordinary season in South Bend, Doherty was named the head coach at North Carolina, his alma mater, in 2000. In his first season at UNC, Doherty led the Tar Heels to a 26-7 record and was named Associated Press National Coach of the Year. The team won the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season co-championship and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. UNC earned a No. 1 ranking during the season and two Tar Heels, Brendan Haywood and Joe Forte, were tabbed All-Americans and became first-round NBA draft choices. Doherty capped off his first year by putting together one of the top-five recruiting classes in the nation.
Doherty's reputation as one of the nation's top recruiters continued in his second season at North Carolina, when he signed Raymond Felton, Sean May and Rashad McCants, all of whom would play instrumental roles on North Carolina's 2005 National Championship team. In his final year at North Carolina, Doherty's team won the Preseason National Invitation Tournament and was ranked as high as No. 12 in the nation before advancing to the NIT following the season.
After his time in Chapel Hill, his basketball success made him a natural as an analyst, a role he has served for ESPN-plus and CSTV in various capacities since 2003. Doherty has also worked as a scout for the NBA's New York Knicks.
He was born Matthew Francis Doherty on Feb. 25, 1962 in East Meadow, N.Y. He and his wife, the former Kelly Propst of Concord, N.C., are the parents of Tucker (June 1997) and a daughter, Hattie (September 1999).