It was the year 2001, and perhaps talk of political correctness was swirling less in the air.
Nevertheless, as soon as ESPN Magazine published North Carolina head coach Matt Doherty calling Duke’s cheerleaders “the ugliest in the ACC,” it sparked immediate outrage from the Blue Devil community as well as the country.
Doherty made the remarks, according to the article, during a timeout to motivate his players while playing against Duke during the regular season.
But ESPN apparently had audio of Doherty during the Feb. 1 game, and the story suddenly had its eye-grabbing quote.
Doherty apologized for his remarks, saying it was just a joke, according to a WRAL article from Feb. 13. Nevertheless, during his three-year stint at North Carolina that preceded Roy Williams’ tenure, Doherty got into another disagreement with the Blue Devils a couple years later.
In 2003, Duke assistant coach Chris Collins approached the Tar Heels’ Rashad McCants on the court after a scrum between the two teams. Doherty was near the Duke bench already because of the fight, and he got in Collins’ face. The two coaches shouted from point-blank range, almost touching foreheads before being pulled away.
Doherty was forced to resign at the end of the season after going 53-43 with North Carolina and is no longer coaching. Collins, meanwhile, is now the head coach of Northwestern and has the Wildcats on the verge of their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance, which would make them the final Power-5 team to reach the Dance.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.