Feb. 17, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame fans know Matt Doherty brings a rich tradition in basketball success to Notre Dame. The success of assistant coach Doug Wojcik in collegiate basketball often goes unnoticed. Today, the Insider looks at Wojcik’s playing days at Navy where he rewrote the record books, in the first part of this four part series.
For a player that no one seemed interested in, Wojcik carved a name for himself not only at the Academy but also in college basketball. He can swap stories with the best of them, including Doherty.
Wojcik teamed up with fellow classmate David Robinson to lead the Midshipmen to some of its most successful seasons of basketball in the history of the Naval Academy.
Wojcik started every game at point for three impressive seasons. The team his sophomore year finished with the mark of 30 wins and just five losses. In his final two years at the Academy, the Midshipmen finished with the record of 26-6 both seasons.
“The whole journey for me was a highlight,” Wojcik said. “I had no grand expectations. I guess I did but I didn’t because I didn’t want to set myself up.”
Surprisingly enough, Wojcik’s highlights are not receiving Robinson’s 1986 Colonial Athletic Association MVP trophy in his locker or becoming the all-time assist leader at Navy.
Instead, of the individual achievement, Wojcik’s highlights are the battles he won with his team. A personal highlight for him came in his sophomore season when the team made it to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 25 years. In that first game against LSU in 1985, he scored a career high 18 points.
Another personal highlight came in the next season when the Midshipmen faced the Orangemen of Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. Earlier in the season, the Orangemen embarrassed the Midshipmen, easily defeating them 89-67. The NCAA still allowed teams to play on their home floor for the tournament. It was his junior year and Syracuse entered the game ranked fifth in the country.
The 97-85 win advanced the Midshipmen to the Sweet 16. Wojcik had eight points and five assists in the game. Later in the tournament, the team would lose to Duke, just barely getting shutout of the Final Four.
“That win was probably one of the greatest wins in Navy history,” Wojcik said. “It was a great day. My dad was there.”
Wojcik set the single-season assist record as a junior at 251. The same season he led his team to an appearance in the ’86 East Regional of the NCAA tournament.
Wojcik started his naval career at the Naval Academy Prep School. He served as captain of the ’83 squad at the prep school. The prep school is the Academy’s way of helping a student adjust.
“I had a hard time with it,” Wojcik said about the transition to military life.
The Wheeling, W. Va. native describes himself as teetering on a line when he graduated from high school.
“I was one of those kids who it was hard to give a scholarship to,” Wojcik said. “It is a huge investment and when I look at it now I am on the other side. It is a big decision on whom to offer a scholarship. I was kind of the fringe that way. I was one of those kids who would have been a good invited walk-on at certain places. I did want to go to a good school. The Naval Academy really appealed to me.”
Wojcik still holds the record for most assists in a game, season and career at Navy.