Local News

2000: UNC Names Notre Dame's Doherty To Replace Guthridge

Posted April 1, 2003 4:16 a.m. EST

— EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the story that appeared on WRAL.com reporting that UNC had hired Matt Doherty as its men's basketball coach.

Notre Dame's Matt Doherty is the new basketball coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Doherty, 38, was introduced as the new coach at a 7:30 p.m. press conference Tuesday in Chapel Hill.

Doherty served as coach of Notre Dame's basketball program for one season. He led the Fighting Irish to a 22-15 record and a second-place finish in the National Invitational Tournament.

"I was born in New York, but this feels like home to me," Doherty said. "It's a big day in my life that I did not see coming."

UNC had been searching for a coach since Bill Guthridge retired as head coach on June 30.

University of Kansas coach Roy Williams, whom many people believed was the frontrunner for the position, declined to take the job last Thursday.

South Carolina head coach Eddie Fogler, Milwaukee Bucks' head coach George Karl and Philadelphia 76ers' head coach Larry Brown all took their names out of the running.

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 said he made his decision to accept the job after talking with his former Tar Heel teammate, Michael Jordan.

"He (Jordan) said you have to do what is best for your family," Doherty said. "At the end of the conversation, he said: 'Who knows if it does not work out with you? They may have to go outside of the family.' Right then, I made up my mind that I wanted to be the head basketball coach at the University of North Carolina."

Incoming UNC chancellor James Moeser said Doherty is the right person to keep Carolina the top program in the country

"I think he is a great choice for this program because I think he maintains the same character, quality and integrity that has always marked Carolina," Moeser said.

Carolina fans are happy that the long wait for a new coach is finally over.

"I have a feeling that the Dean Dome is going to be real loud next year," said Tar Heel fan Jerry West.

Said fan Ann Hammond: "It's amazing. I think he is going to be a great asset to Chapel Hill."

Doherty played at UNC from 1981-1984, which included a championship title in 1982. He was an assistant coach at Davidson College from 1989 to 1992. He later worked as an assistant coach at Kansas under the tutelage of Williams from 1992-1999.