Doherty expected to replace Tubbs at SMU

Updated: April 24, 2006, 3:51 PM ET
Associated Press

DALLAS -- SMU was close Monday to hiring former national coach of the year Matt Doherty to try reviving a men's basketball program that's gone 13 years without appearing in the NCAA tournament.

The school's 18-member search committee, run by incoming athletic director Steve Orsini and retiring AD Jim Copeland, was meeting late Monday morning to finalize the move, according to a school official who wished to remain anonymous because the vote had yet to be taken.

The vote was probably only a procedural move, with Orsini already scheduling a 2:30 p.m. news conference.

Doherty, coming off a 15-13 season at Florida Atlantic, would replace Jimmy Tubbs, who was fired April 6 after two losing seasons and an internal investigation that uncovered NCAA violations.

Doherty's current athletic director at Florida Atlantic told The Palm Beach Post that a deal with SMU was close.

"I got the impression the terms were coming together for them, but I don't know for sure,'' Craig Angelos said.

Various media reports had Doherty already accepting the offer.

Doherty, who won a national championship as a player for North Carolina, broke into coaching with Notre Dame in 1999-2000. He took over the Tar Heels the next season and earned the coach of the year award from The Associated Press for going 26-7 and winning a share of the regular-season ACC title.

North Carolina missed the NCAA field the next two years, and Doherty resigned under pressure in April 2003. He worked as a television analyst for two years, then spent this past season at Florida Atlantic.

Doherty's high profile should be a boost for SMU, which hasn't made the NCAA tournament since 1993.

Tubbs spent 12 years as an SMU assistant, then two at Oklahoma and was a popular pick when he was hired. His teams went 27-30, including 13-16 this past season, but school officials said the NCAA violations were the main reason he was fired.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press