WSU's Daugherty hospitalized after cardiac arrest

Updated: May 23, 2007, 11:57 PM ET
Associated Press

SEATTLE -- After a huge scare, an outpouring of care from cross-state rivals and some upcoming rest, June Daugherty apparently will be back on the job of rebuilding the Washington State women's basketball program.

June Daugherty
AP PhotoJune Daugherty took over at Washington State after success at rival Washington.

Daugherty was upgraded from critical to serious condition on Wednesday after going into cardiac arrest the day before, said a hospital spokeswoman in Everett, Wash., north of here.

Washington State, which hired Daugherty last month after Washington fired her despite a winning record over 11 seasons, released a statement saying the Cougars had no information on the length of her recovery but that the news "is as good as we could hope for, under the circumstances."

"We are relieved June is feeling better and her status has been upgraded," Cougars athletic director Jim Sterk said later.

WSU sports information director Rod Commons said, "[We] have been told she can return to full activity. Basically, they expect full recovery."

With that, Cougars and Huskies alike exhaled.

The 50-year-old Daugherty was hospitalized Tuesday after her heart stopped at a medical clinic in Everett, where she was to take a physical, according to her husband, Mike Daugherty, who is also her associate head coach at WSU. Personnel from the clinic attended to Daugherty before taking her to Providence Everett Medical Center.

"June had a cardiac arrest yesterday and is stabilized now. She is doing as well as can be expected," he said in a statement released Wednesday by the hospital.

The Daughertys, parents of 13-year-old twins Breanne and Doc, live in Mukilteo, near Everett.

By midmorning Wednesday, the nurses station at the hospital's intensive care unit reported the coach's condition had improved to serious, hospital spokeswoman Cheri Russum said.

By then, most members of the current Washington team and former Huskies scattered throughout the Northwest -- all of whom were recruited by the Daughertys -- were on their way to visit the coach. Traveling with them were thoughts and prayers transcending the divide that usually separates the state's largest universities and biggest rivals.

"June is a very special person," Sterk said. "[She] already has won the hearts and support of the Cougar nation and I know they also are keeping her and her family in their prayers."

Washington athletic director Todd Turner, who fired Daugherty largely because he thought her Huskies program lacked buzz, said: "June and her family have made a lot of great friends throughout the Washington Husky community over the years and our sincere thoughts and concerns go out to her. We wish her a complete and immediate recovery."

Kayla Burt, a former Huskies player and current Portland assistant coach, left Oregon Tuesday night to visit Daugherty, Portland spokesman Jason Brough said. Burt, who was not immediately available for comment, had special reason to be there.

A defibrillator was implanted in her chest after her heart stopped on New Year's Eve 2002 while she was in her off-campus apartment in Seattle. After a hiatus as a student coach for Daugherty, Burt returned to the Huskies for the 2004-05 season. But she retired in January, 2006, after the defibrillator activated during a game.

The WSU statement said that Daugherty's condition "was not described as a heart attack, but cardiac arrest. Hospital medical personnel have told the family there [were] no anticipated long term issues and no blockage."

Cardiac arrest is the heart suddenly stopping, with death starting to occur within minutes if the heart's beat is not restored by an electric shock, according to the American Heart Association. A heart attack is permanent damage to the heart muscle due to lack of blood supply.

Daugherty coached Washington to the NCAA tournament the past two seasons and in six of her 11 years with the Huskies. But she was dismissed by Washington on March 18, one day after the Huskies lost their first-round game in the NCAA tournament to Iowa State.

At Washington, Daugherty compiled a 191-139 overall record and a 113-85 Pac-10 mark. Daugherty coached from 1989-96 at Boise State, where she posted a 123-74 overall record.

She took over a WSU program that has not had a winning season since 1995-96. Daugherty replaced Sherri Murrell, who resigned April 5 after compiling a 27-114 record in her five years as coach. Murrell was 8-82 in Pac-10 play.

While Daugherty recovers, the Cougars' women's basketball offseason duties fall to their two newest hires, assistant coaches Brian Holsinger and Mo Hines.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press