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Doherty resigns amid UNC woes

By Associated Press
Published April 2, 2003

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Three years ago it seemed so right. North Carolina hired a young coach who had played college ball for Dean Smith and alongside Michael Jordan. It all ended so badly for Matt Doherty and the Tar Heels on Tuesday.

Doherty resigned after a bumpy run marked by feuds with players and his failure to lead North Carolina back to national prominence.

"You have to have an environment where you can be successful, and I can understand why Matt would feel that the rumors and speculation were making it very difficult," athletic director Dick Baddour said. "I admire Matt for valuing the traditions of this program and the needs of this program over his own. That takes a lot of courage."

The team's failure to make the NCAA tournament in two of his three seasons was secondary to Doherty's leadership deficiencies, and his inability to get along with players and UNC athletic department staff.

"We want coaches who are tough and who have high demands, but whose toughness is coupled with love," chancellor James Moeser said. "That's what we're looking for from our athletic leaders."

Doherty leaves with three years left on a six-year contract that paid him $855,000 a season. He will receive $337,500 from the school, which will include $150,000 from the upcoming basketball camp, Baddour said.

"Our responsibility has been immense, given the outstanding tradition of the University of North Carolina," Doherty said in a statement. "I have always recognized and taken very seriously the responsibility entrusted to us as a coaching staff. That responsibility extends to our players and fans and ultimately to the tradition I have personally been a part of since 1980. I continue to wish the best for this program and this university."

Doherty's resignation came after Baddour held a series of meetings with players and parents, some of whom complained about the coach's intense practices and drastic mood swings. Three players transferred last season and others talked about it this year.

In Doherty's first season, the Tar Heels went 26-7. But they slipped to 8-20 last season - the worst record in the program's history - and this year finished 19-16 with a young team.

HOWLAND, UCLA TALK DEAL: The arena isn't as nice, the money would be about the same, and the players - at least now - wouldn't be as good. All those disadvantages apparently won't prevent Pittsburgh coach Ben Howland from leaving for UCLA.

Howland, who met with UCLA officials Sunday, was talking about a contract Tuesday. The Associated Press said his representatives were finalizing details that would make him the Bruins' eighth coach since John Wooden coached them to 10 national championships from 1964-75.

[Last modified April 2, 2003, 02:03:29]

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