The university has hired a search firm to help find a replacement head basketball coach after Neil Dougherty wasn’t retained for his seventh season, the athletics director said.
Athletics director Danny Morrison said TCU hired Dallas-based Eastman & Beaudine Inc. for support with the search for a new head coach. The university also used the firm in 1997 to search for a replacement for then-retiring athletics director Frank Windegger, which ended with the hiring of Eric Hyman.
Hyman served TCU for more than seven years and was named the 2003-04 Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal National Athletics Director of the Year before leaving to occupy the same post at University of South Carolina in 2005.
Dougherty, who came to TCU as a highly regarded assistant after seven years at the University of Kansas, was informed Sunday afternoon that he would not return to the team next year, Morrison said. Morrison did not give an exact date when the decision was made.
“We evaluate every coach at the end of every season,” Morrison said.
The TCU Athletics Media Relations Department has denied the Daily Skiff interviews with any TCU coach or player except regarding upcoming opponents.
“We appreciate Neil’s contributions to TCU over the last six years,” Morrison said in a statement released Sunday. “He cares deeply about the student-athletes and always had their best interests at heart. He put a lot of time and effort into the job, and we wish him the best in the future.”
Dougherty declined to comment at his home Monday, but his colleagues spoke volumes about the coach’s performance on and off the court.
Roy Williams, current University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill head coach whom Dougherty served under at Kansas, said he trusts Dougherty immensely.
“He’s really one of the great young coaches in college basketball,” Williams said. “He’s a great young man, a great coach and the kind of guy I would want my son to play for. That’s as great a compliment as I can give anybody.”
Eddie Fogler, former head coach at Vanderbilt University and South Carolina whom Dougherty served under from 1989 to 1995, said Dougherty’s ability to relate to parents and student-athletes makes him a great recruiter.
“Parents have a great comfort level with Neil – his whole family background is terrific,” Fogler said.
Brigham Young University head coach Dave Rose said Dougherty faced a tough challenge in changing conferences and playing the farthest distance of any other Mountain West Conference school. Although Rose is 5-0 against TCU since it joined the conference in 2005, he said TCU was a consistent and well-coached basketball team under Dougherty.
“(Dougherty) is such a personable guy,” Rose said. “When you sit down and talk with Neil, after five or 10 minutes you feel like you’ve known him all your life.”
After six seasons at TCU since joining the team in 2002, Dougherty’s career record of 75-108, which includes three last-place conference finishes, ranked 309 out of 320 among Division I coaches in winning percentage for coaches with at least five years experience, according to NCAA records.
TCU finished this season 14-16 overall and 6-10 in conference play with a 198 RPI, which is a computerized index for ranking teams, earning a seventh-place finish in the conference, the team’s best since it joined the MWC in 2005. The team’s season ended with an 89-88 loss to eventual conference champion, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in the conference tournament quarterfinals.
The Horned Frogs posted a 21-14 record in Dougherty’s third season when the team was a member of Conference USA, the team’s most wins since the 1998-99 season, which included a berth in the National Invitation Tournament quarterfinals. TCU posted season records of 6-25 in 2005-2006 with a 287 RPI and 13-17 in 2006-2007 with a 182 RPI, respectively, both last-place conference finishes.
According to TCU’s latest tax filing, Dougherty was the second-highest paid employee in the 2005 reporting period other than officers, directors and trustees at the university, earning $492,452 in compensation and $95,665 in employee benefits behind head football coach Gary Patterson, who earned $1.1 million in compensation and another $101,081 in employee benefits.