Doherty plans to hire Walters for staff

Updated: April 17, 2005, 1:24 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The clouds gathered quickly for Matt Doherty at North Carolina, so it's fitting he'll get a chance to restart his career in the Sunshine State.

Doherty, who resigned as coach of the Tar Heels after the 2002-03 season, will become the new men's basketball coach at Florida Atlantic on Monday. The hiring was first reported by ESPN's Dick Vitale.

Matt Doherty
Doherty

ESPN.com's Andy Katz is reporting that Doherty plans on hiring former Kansas star Rex Walters as an assistant coach.

Asked why he accepted a job at FAU, Doherty told Katz he wanted to go to a school that already had a "sound infrastructure." He also wanted a place that his family would feel comfortable with. Doherty and his family have been living in Charlotte since he resigned under pressure from his job with the Tar Heels.

Doherty toured the campus and met with athletic director Craig Angelos and school president Frank Brogan on Wednesday.

The 43-year-old Doherty succeeded Bill Guthridge at North Carolina in 2000, but he lasted only three seasons at his alma mater, going 53-43. Many of his top recruits helped North Carolina win this year's NCAA title.

Doherty recruited Sean May, Raymond Felton and Rashad McCants, who helped the Tar Heels win this year's national championship under coach Roy Williams.

Upon his dismissal from North Carolina, Doherty said he made major mistakes by changing everything from assistant coaches, to office computer equipment, to the lobby entrance when he took over the storied program three years ago.

In the end, those changes contributed to Doherty losing his job, as several factions -- including some of his players who complained about his coaching style -- turned on him in the final moments before his resignation.

Doherty was The Associated Press national coach of the year in his first season after leading the Tar Heels to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. But the team slumped badly in 2001-02 after sophomore Joseph Forte entered the NBA draft and Doherty was unable to prod football/basketball players Julius Peppers and Ronald Curry to join the team for the ACC season.

The Tar Heels finished 8-20 overall, 4-7 in the ACC. But the program took a huge swing upward with the addition of freshmen Felton, McCants and May. The Tar Heels won the Preseason NIT and were on their way to a likely NCAA bid before May suffered a broken foot that forced him to miss the entire ACC schedule.

Doherty was a teammate of Michael Jordan's at North Carolina in the early 1980s when Williams was an assistant under Dean Smith. Before becoming coach at UNC, Doherty coached Notre Dame for one season (22-15) and was an assistant for seven seasons at Kansas under Williams.

Florida Atlantic fired Sidney Green last month after his third straight losing season.

Doherty's hiring would give Florida Atlantic two high-profile coaches; Howard Schnellenberger has been the Owls' football coach since the program's inception in 2000.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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