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Wednesday, January 21, 2004
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Frogs make it a family affair
The men’s basketball team is more than a group of players, on and off the court. With head coach Neil Dougherty’s son playing at TCU, it is a family as well.

By Ryan Claunch
Skiff Staff

The men’s basketball team shares many things: the court, hotel rooms, the locker room, even the same name.

As of this past fall, head basketball coach Neil Dougherty now coaches his son, who is also named Neil.

“I’m proud of him,” Dougherty said. “He looked around at a few different colleges, but came to really like what he saw here at TCU and I’m glad that he did.”

Neil Dougherty Jr. agrees with his father.

“When my dad began coaching here I got to see more of TCU and learn more about it,” the freshman said. “It’s a nice school. It grew on me.”

With the opportunity to play for his father, the point guard said there were several advantages to his situation.

“In the back of my mind I was a little worried,” the younger Dougherty said. “But I looked at playing under my dad as a new challenge for me to face. Also, it helped me get accustomed to playing basketball here by my not having to play and work for a coach that I had never met before.”

Other members of the team also say that having the two Doughertys on the team adds to its cohesiveness.

“I think it’s cool that both of them are here,” freshman Art Pierce said. “It has given all the members of the team insight about our coach. Having Neil on the team has helped us to understand coach Dougherty better than before.”

Creating a strong bond between coach and player is an important aspect that coach Dougherty said he is glad to see improving within the team.

“With Neil playing and helping other players understand more of how I work, it has really helped adjust the relationship between myself and the players and vice versa in a positive way,” the elder Dougherty said. “The responsibilities that I have as coach on the court and the transition to my being there for the players off the court is more comfortable between us all.”

The differences between on the court and off are something that both the Neils are well aware of.

“When I’m at practice, for example, what we do is very hard work and I’m treated as just another member of the team,” the younger Dougherty said. “There’s no worries about any kind of special treatment. We have a very close team. It’s probably the closest that I’ve ever played on. We’re like a family.”

Coach Dougherty said he looks at the family connection as a strong point, but not as one that is to be used to a great extent.

“Neil knows who I am as a father,” the coach said. “Now he has the opportunity to see and gather a bigger picture of who I am, seeing more of the coaching aspects and responsibilities of my life other than just a parent. I try to be more of a coach to him, much like all the players on the team and I feel that it is working out well.”

The different settings that the two generations of Doughertys interact in has proved valuable to both father and son.

“I take basketball, and college in general, seriously,” the younger Dougherty said. “I’m glad to play basketball in college and playing for my dad is great.”

Coach Dougherty
Stephen Spillman/Staff Photographer
The Horned Frogs look forward to a bright future with the Dougherty family.
Basketball photo
Stephen Spillman/Staff Photographer
The Horned Frogs look forward to a bright future with the Dougherty family.