UNC Coach Apologizes For Remark Made About Duke Cheerleaders
Posted February 13, 2001 6:00 a.m. EST
DURHAM — The UNC-Duke rivalry is tense, and anything a coach can do to break that tension will help the team. However, a comment made by UNC head basketball coach Matt Doherty to his team has people talking off the court.
Late in the UNC-Duke game during a timeout huddle, Doherty made a comment to his players about the Duke cheerleaders The remark made its way into anESPN magazine article.
In the article, he quoted as saying, "Oh, by the way, Duke still has the ugliest cheerleaders in the ACC."
Doherty says it was just a joke - meant to break the tension of the game. In a letter to the Duke cheerleaders Tuesday, Doherty wrote, "I meant no disrespect. However, I apologize for the insensitive reference and hope you do not take it seriously or personally."
The rivalry between Duke and Carolina is legendary, but some Duke students believe the comment went too far.
"We've been looking at building up positive reinforcement of our team and trying to cut down on all the negative things we say about other teams, and I think that's what other teams in the ACC need to work on as well," says Duke student Erin Harper.
"It doesn't really matter what they say, we have our own cheers and chants, and we rip into them pretty good so it doesn't matter," says Duke student Dan Kravitz.
UNC students do not believe the remark should reflect poorly on the coach.
"He's going to do whatever it takes to win. If it means being a poor sport, sometimes he's going to do it. But he's a great coach and we won the game, so I guess that proves it all," says UNC student Ali Mehrizi.
"Maybe he shouldn't have said it, I don't know. I don't really have an opinion, but I'm not going to think any less of the man," says UNC student Sohair Ahmadi.
Doherty also called the coach of the Duke cheerleaders and apologized to her as well.