If SMU Has Grown Tired of Matt Doherty, I Got a Name For You
Make it 17 years and counting that SMU won't be invited to March Madness.
With head coach Matt Doherty's rebuilding program on a pace that's as slow as refrigerated honey - or is it simply a treadmill? - is it time for a change?
SMU's latest losing season was buried last night in a disappointing 16-point loss to a Central Florida team that it whipped by 22 in Dallas in January. With the loss in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament, the Mustangs finished 14-18. After years with 10 and 9 wins I guess you could call it progress, but in Doherty's four years the Ponies are a lethargic 47-75, including 17-48 in the conference.
There was a four-game winning streak in January and a signature win over Memphis, but despite Doherty's arrival the Mustangs are no closer to being on college basketball's map. SMU hasn't had a winning season since 2003 and hasn't beaten a Top 5 team since the days of Jon Koncak in 1985. Moody Coliseum is an empty dump. Doherty recruits Africa better than Dallas. And the $13 million Crum Center practice facility is so far a wasted investment.
Doherty demanded a 7-year contract because of the breadth of the rebuilding project on the Hilltop, but does athletic director Steve Orsini have the patience to see it through? The quick transformation performed by football coach June Jones - a bowl game victory in only his second season - won't help Doherty's case.
Neither will the fact that a basketball coach with a similar track record is lurking nearby, sniffing around for a job.
After turning UT-El Paso and Texas A&M into tournament programs he had a famous flameout at Kentucky. But he has recently moved to Dallas, is an expert at recruiting the Metroplex and at this point would feel like a needed injection of something different to a program that seems to be going nowhere fast.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.