A Carolina connection is Matt Doherty back in the game.
The former Tar Heel player and head coach for three years had almost fallen out of basketball after unsuccessful coaching stints at Florida Atlantic and SMU, following his short stay in Chapel Hill. Doherty had been working as a scout for the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, his coaching career apparently over.
Then, former Carolina star player and now-acclaimed administrator Bernadette McGlade tapped Doherty as Associate Commissioner for Basketball at the A-10 Conference, where McGlade has served as commissioner since 2008. Although McGlade and Doherty overlapped in Chapel Hill, this was no sympathy hire. McGlade’s stature assures that.
She is under contract with the A-10 through 2021 and, before then, could very well succeed John Swofford as the first woman commissioner of the ACC, since McGlade also worked 17 years at Georgia Tech before taking over at the A-10. She has steered her league through conference realignment and has positioned it as one of the best beneath the Power 5.
Clearly, Doherty is glad to be back on the collegiate level. He earned national coach of the year honors at Carolina for the 2001 season when his Tar Heels were ranked No. 1 in the country. His second team nosedived to 8-20 and he resigned after his third team went 19-16, as Roy Williams returned to UNC the second time he was asked.
With only one year of head-coaching experience at Notre Dame, Doherty was probably too green to maintain Carolina’s prominence when recruiting dipped following the Dean Smith era. He helped out his alma mater after Williams turned down the job in 2000, and since has admitted he should have remained at Notre Dame, which he took to the finals of the NIT in his one season at South Bend.
All that is behind Doherty now, as he re-enters college athletics under McGlade, who set scoring and rebounding records for the Tar Heels and is one of the most respected administrators in America. Doherty said he is grateful for the opportunity and looking forward to joining her team, which at 56 years old is the perfect place and time for him to reset.