Sept. 9, 1999
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – For several years, the name Matt Doherty has been mentioned as one of the hot, young assistant coaches in the college basketball community. Every time another major position opened up, people wondered if this would be the job for Doherty.
On March 30, 1999, that question was answered – Doherty would launch his head coaching career at the University of Notre Dame.
Doherty’s career included noteworthy stops at two of the most tradition-rich college basketball programs in the country. He played at North Carolina, where he helped lead the Tar Heels to the 1982 national championship, and spent the last seven years as the top assistant at Kansas, as the Jayhawks advanced to the NCAA tournament each year he was in Lawrence, including a trip to the ’93 Final Four.
“I think Notre Dame is a fit with my personality,” says Doherty. “I think Notre Dame represents class, integrity and excellence. I hope that I have those qualities in my life and I feel proud to represent this fine University.”
When Notre Dame embarked on its search for the 16th basketball coach in Notre Dame history, Doherty’s resume included links with some of the foremost basketball names in the country.
During Doherty’s tenure at Kansas, he coordinated both the recruiting and scouting areas and assisted in all day-to-day operations of the program.
Doherty’s career as a player at North Carolina saw the Tar Heels win the ’82 title, advance to the title game in ’81 and play in a regional final in ’83.
“I learned so many lessons from Coach (Dean) Smith and Coach (Roy) Williams, both on and off the court,” says Doherty. “Coach Williams gave me a lot of responsibility and a lot of credit. It was a great learning experience for me. I sat next to him for seven years and watched him operate one of the finest basketball programs in the country. By watching him run the program, I learned a lot. That has really helped me in my first months here at Notre Dame in regard to recruiting, my coaching staff and scheduling.
“Coach Smith taught the team how to treat people properly, he would give us English lessons in the lockerroom setting and so many basketball experiences.
“It’s all about treating people with respect and it’s about taking care of people. You need to be thoughtful and care about the people that work for you and with you. Coach Smith treated his players and the people that worked for him with a great deal of respect.”
Doherty inherits a team that is highlighted by one of the top players in the BIG EAST Conference in sophomore forward Troy Murphy. Murphy was a finalist for the USA Basketball Junior World Championship team that played in Portugal this summer, but had to pull out of the trials after undergoing hernia surgery on July 13. Murphy has recovered from the surgery completely.
Murphy was the BIG EAST rookie of the year last season after he led the Irish in scoring and rebounding at 19.2 points and 9.9 rebounds per contest. Murphy broke the school record for freshman scoring with 519 points, topping the 511 by Adrian Dantley in 1973-74. Murphy was named to the Basketball News national all-freshmen team and was the BIG EAST rookie of the week eight times – the second-highest total in league history. Murphy was the first freshman to ever lead the BIG EAST in rebounding at 10.3 boards per game in conference play.
Murphy is joined in the sophomore class by fellow forwards David Graves and Harold Swanagan. Graves started 28 games last season and was the second-leading scorer on the team at 12.3 points per game, while Swanagan was a key for the Irish off the bench at 6.1 points per contest and led Notre Dame in scoring in three different games.
“I think Troy Murphy is that special player who can do a lot of things very well,” says Doherty. “He is a potential star. David Graves is an exceptional shooter. He works at it. He can be a very valuable part of the team. Harold Swanagan is a special kid. He is a hard worker who will be one of the natural leaders of this team.”
Junior point guard Martin Ingelsby started 27 games last year and dished out 122 assists, while averaging just one turnover in every 11.2 minutes of play.
The senior class features point guard Jimmy Dillon and forwards Todd Palmer and Skylard Owens. Dillon averaged 15.6 minutes per game last year backing up Ingelsby, while Owens was also a key reserve at 10.6 minutes per game, and now has been elevated from walk-on to scholarship status.
“Martin Ingelsby is a quiet leader with a deadly shot,” says Doherty. “He is the key to the team because he’s the point guard. Skylard Owens is very emotional and a very valuable part of the team. He adds not only to team chemistry but adds athleticism as well.
“Jimmy Dillon is another important member of the team. He and Martin are crucial to the team – not to put pressure on them – but if they are productive and take care of the basketball we can have a good year. I think Todd Palmer’s leadership on and off the court is valuable.”
Notre Dame welcomes six newcomers to the squad this season. Matt Carroll, a shooting guard, averaged 26.5 points per game in his senior year at Hatboro-Horsham High School in Horsham, Pa., and added eight rebounds and five assists. He was the first player in Pennsylvania high school history to earn Associated Press player-of-the-year honors two years in a row and played in both the Magic Johnson Roundball Classic and Capital Classic following his senior year. Carroll was a member of the 1999 United States Junior National Team this past summer that competed at the 1999 FIBA Junior World Championship in Portugal.
Freshman point guard Mike Monserez averaged 20 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game in his senior year at Moeller High School in Cincinnati and led his team to the state championship. Monserez was named most valuable player of the state tournament.
During the spring after Doherty was named head coach, two Croatian players signed national letters of intent to play for the Irish. Ivan Kartelo is a 6-11, 236-pound center from Split, Croatia, who spent the 1998-99 academic year at the Winchendon School in Massachusetts, where he averaged 13.0 points per game along with 11.0 rebounds. Jere Macura, a 6-8, 205-pound forward from Split, will begin his United States basketball career at Notre Dame after playing for the Basketball Club of Split for the past four years.
Ryan Humphrey, a 6-8, 205-pound forward, announced in June that he will attend Notre Dame in the fall after spending the past two years at the University of Oklahoma. Humphrey, who will be eligible to play in 2000-2001, was a third-team all-Big 12 selection last year and averaged 11.1 points per game.
“Mike Monserez has great savvy and knows how to play the game,” says Doherty. “He is a winner and a good ballhander. Matt Carroll is a tough kid and a pure shooter. He is a tough competitor. Ivan Kartelo has a chance to be a special player. He can run, he can block shots and rebound. He has good hands and can shoot the ball from the perimeter. Jere Macura is an athlete who can run and jump. He will add that wing player to our roster that we really don’t have. We have big guards and we have power forwards, but we don’t have that in-between player. Ryan Humphrey is a premier college basketball player and will be a tremendous addition to our program.”
After Doherty spent his first full summer recruiting for Notre Dame, he knows there is a certain fit for a player in the Irish program.
“I want to recruit the best student-athletes available,” says Doherty. “I think you have to have a fit. It’s like me with this job. I feel I am a fit at Notre Dame. Just because a kid is a great player and a good student doesn’t mean it’s always a fit for your university. I don’t want to try to fit a square peg into a round hole. I think you have to make sure you do your research – find out what he’s like as a student, a player and what his personality is like. I want the right fit for Notre Dame. Not everyone is a good fit for Notre Dame.”
Once his Irish team takes the floor in November, Doherty predicts a style that will be similar to those of the programs that he has played and coached in.
“It would be foolish of me to change what I know from Kansas and North Carolina and their style of play,” says Doherty. “I said at my press conference when I was introduced that 75-90 percent of what we will do will be Kansas and North Carolina’s style of play and 10 percent will be Matt Doherty. That will be my own personal beliefs and will also be the talent on the court.
“At Kansas, we had Jacque Vaughn and we were flying up and down the court putting great pressure on the basketball. Maybe Martin Ingelsby is not Jacque Vaughn, but maybe Martin Ingelsby is a better shooter. Maybe we’ll need to set more screens for him to get him free to shoot the jump shots. Maybe Troy Murphy is our best overall ballhandler versus Jacque Vaughn at guard. So it’s my job – and the exciting part of coaching – to put players in a position where they can be successful as individuals and therefore we will have success as a team.
“So I’m not going to try and say this is how we are going to play and fit the players into that style. I think there is a happy balance where I have to fit the style to the players.”
Notre Dame once again will play a competitive schedule with 16 BIG EAST Conference games (home and away with defending national champion Connecticut, Miami, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, home games against Boston College, Providence, St. John’s and West Virginia, and road games against Georgetown, Rutgers, Seton Hall and Villanova).
The Irish will open the season with play in the preseason National Invitation Tournament, with a first-round game at ’99 Final Four participant Ohio State on Tuesday, November 16, (ESPN2) at 8:30 p.m. EST. The winner of that game advances to the second round on Thursday, November 18, against either Davidson or Siena. The NIT semifinals and finals are Wednesday and Friday, November 24 and 26, at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The non-league schedule also will be highlighted with a home game against Vanderbilt (December 4) and road games at Indiana (November 30) and at Miami of Ohio (December 11).