Work in Sports
New coach, same expectations at UNC
Updated: Monday October 16, 2000 3:03 PM
By Tim Crothers, Sports Illustrated
The next morning Doherty was walking into the Dean Smith Center when he was stopped by a UNC maintenance man who asked, "Coach, how many games do the Tar Heels play this season?"
Doherty responded, "I guess about 35 if we go deep into the NCAAs."
"OK," the man said. "We expect you to win 36."
The next evening Doherty hosted a party for the opening of basketball practice that was unofficially dubbed "Midnight Mattness," and 10,000 Tar Heels fans showed up late night at Carmichael Auditorium. Before the practice began, Doherty and his coaching staff engaged in a highly competitive three-on-three game against the school's intramural basketball championship team. The 38-year-old Doherty sank the basket that put his team ahead 14-13 and then delighted the Carolina blue faithful by calling for the Four Corners offense to run out the game's final minute.
Thus began a fresh new era for North Carolina basketball. As Doherty ran around the court in the middle of the night, one couldn't help harking back to the previous Tar Heels coach, sexagenarian Bill Guthridge, who regularly used to joke that he disliked coaching games which started at 9 p.m. because they kept him awake past his bedtime.
Several Sports Illustrated writers are touring college campuses and will file occasional Postcards for CNNSI.com.