Currently ensconced at Florida Atlantic, former North Carolina coach Matt Doherty (above) minces few words when recalling his exit from Chapel Hill when speaking with the Baltimore Sun’s Don Markus (link ripped from Yoni Cohen’s YoCo Hoops)
As much time as Doherty had during the two-year hiatus to reconnect with his wife, Kelly, and their two young children while living in Charlotte, there was at least one difficult moment.
It came after he watched North Carolina beat Illinois in last season’s NCAA championship game. Working in New York for College Sports TV, he asked the production staff if he could have a few minutes to compose himself before going on the air.
“It was emotional,” Doherty recalled. “Part of you wanted them to be successful because you feel like you did your job in putting together a good team. The starting five and seven of the top eight players we recruited.
“But the weird thing is when they won the championship and Coach Williams and his staff climbed the ladders and cut down the nets, you felt like that it could have been us.”
Though Doherty seems invigorated by the change in climate and culture, a more personal scar remains fresh.
His friendship with Williams survived, but his good feelings for his alma mater are gone.
“I don’t want to go back to Chapel Hill,” Doherty said. “I don’t want to go back to see a game. I don’t want to take my son and say, ‘This is where I hung out as a student. Maybe you’ll come to school here some day.’ All those rosy, warm feelings you have about your alma mater, I don’t have them. Maybe that will change some day. I feel like the black sheep of the family.”
Doherty’s successor Roy Williams — having to get by with players he recruited himself — was a winner tonight, the Tar Heels beating no. 23 Maryland, 77-62.