Neil Dougherty served six seasons as TCU head men's basketball coach from 2002 through 2008. His squads combined to post a 75-108 record during his tenure leading the Horned Frog program.
Dougherty, who was hired on March 25, 2002, was TCU's 18th head coach, guided the Horned Frogs to the 2005 National Invitation Tournament, the school's first postseason berth since 1999.
At the conclusion of the 2004-05 season, the Frogs made a late-March run all the way to the NIT quarterfinals despite playing all three games on the road. TCU battled to wins at Miami (Ohio) and Western Michigan before falling in a hard-fought game at Maryland 85-73. When it was all over, the Frogs came out with a 21-14 record--the 11th 20-win season in school history and the most wins for the program since 1998-99.
Also in 2004-05, the Frogs reached the second round of the Conference USA Tournament for the second straight year after accumulating an 8-8 conference record - the best during TCU's four-year stay in C-USA. Dougherty and the Frogs edged out Marquette in the opening round before falling to NCAA Final Four participant Louisville. During the regular season, TCU recorded key victories over NCAA Tournament participants Texas Tech and UAB, picked up two wins over an NIT-bound Marquette squad and also upended NIT Final Four team Memphis on the road. TCU's march in the National Invitation Tournament marked only the third time in school history that the Frogs reached the tournament quarterfinals.
The 2003-04 squad went 7-9 in Conference USA, one of just four leagues in the nation to receive six bids to the 2004 NCAA Tournament. In addition, TCU recorded the program's first victory over a top-10 team since 1990, and grabbed its first conference tournament win since 2000 when the team bounced Marquette from the C-USA Tournament. That final Frog victory was also the 1,000th win in school history and was the second in a four-game winning streak over the tradition-rich Golden?Eagles.
Dougherty's plan for success, his determination and his style of play re-energized the Horned Frogs' fan base. Under his watch, TCU set an all-time arena attendance record when 7,267 fans crammed into Daniel-Meyer Coliseum to watch the Horned Frogs play the top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks on Dec. 1, 2003. In the first-ever visit to DMC by a No. 1 team, the Horned Frogs trailed at halftime by just one point, 39-38, against a team that ultimately advanced to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight.
Another tangible sign of Dougherty's impact on TCU basketball is the $6 million Ed & Rae Schollmaier Basketball Complex. The 22,000-square-foot complex, which sits southeast of Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, features office space for the men's basketball staff, two NCAA regulation practice courts, a meeting room, a weight room, a lobby and a courtyard. It was completed in March of 2004, and stands as a model of the university's strong commitment to basketball.
TCU also made its presence known on national television during the Dougherty Era. The Frogs' statement game came in February of 2004 in front of an ESPN2 audience as part of "Super Tuesday" action, as TCU recorded a monumental 71-46 victory over 10th-ranked Louisville. It was just the fifth win over a top-10 team ever enjoyed by the TCU program. In the contest, TCU held the Cardinals to just 46 points, the lowest output by a Rick Pitino-coached team since his Boston University squad was defeated 48-46 by Canisius in 1982.
Under Dougherty's tutelage, former guards Corey Santee and Nile Murry earned all-conference honors. In addition, several former players - Santee, Murry, Bingo Merriex, Jamal Brown and Marcus Sloan - continued their careers by playing professional basketball.
After finding ways to compete with nationally-recognized teams, increase fan interest, upgrade the schedule, build a basketball facility, gain national exposure, recruit in-state players and raise academic standards, Dougherty also had another challenge in 2005-06: to lead the Horned Frogs into the Mountain West Conference, an established league known for its size and all-around talent.
A longtime assistant coach, Dougherty had been looking for the right head coaching position for several years prior to 2002. When the TCU job came open following the 2001-02 season, the young coach knew he had discovered the right fit.
Prior to his arrival at TCU, Dougherty spent the previous seven seasons at Kansas working as an assistant under coaching legend Roy Williams. A recruiting guru, Dougherty helped KU sign eight McDonald's All-Americans during his tenure. He was also responsible for scouting coordination and assisting with supervision of the academic progress of the Jayhawk players.
During Dougherty's years on the Kansas staff, KU averaged nearly 30 victories per season and won four Big 12 Conference championships. The 2001-02 Jayhawks captured the NCAA Midwest Regional title and advanced to the Final Four, where they were defeated by the eventual champion Maryland Terrapins. Kansas reached the NCAA Tournament every season during Dougherty's time in Lawrence. The 1996-97 squad spent much of the campaign rated No. 1 in the nation and finished the season with a 35-2 overall mark.
Eight of Dougherty's former Jayhawk players reached the NBA: Nick Collison (Seattle), Drew Gooden (Cleveland), Kirk Hinrich (Chicago), Raef LaFrentz (Portland), Paul Pierce (Boston), Scot Pollard (Cleveland), Wayne Simien (Miami) and Jacque Vaughn (San Antonio).
Dougherty, born in Leavenworth, Kan., on April 14, 1961, was a standout athlete at Leavenworth High School. He was an all-state guard as a high school senior and also earned honorable-mention All-America status. The Leavenworth High basketball team enjoyed tremendous success during Dougherty's years, including a state championship appearance his junior season in the spring of 1978. In that tournament, Leavenworth lost to Salina South, but Dougherty made a Class 4A-record 16 field goals.
Following graduation, Dougherty attended the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. At Army, he was recruited by and played one year for Mike Krzyzewski, now the legendary head coach at Duke. Dougherty played several games as a freshman and was a part-time starter as a sophomore under coach Pete Gaudet.
Dougherty transferred to Cameron University for his final two collegiate seasons. He started at point guard as a junior and senior, helping the team to a combined 34 wins in two seasons. Dougherty graduated with a bachelor's degree in education from Cameron in 1984 and earned his master's degree in education at the University of Oklahoma in 1987.
Dougherty and his wife, Patti, have three children: a daughter, Megan, and sons, Neil Patrick and Ryan. Neil Patrick was a guard on the TCU basketball team from 2003-2007.