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Winningest coach now in Newberg

In his fiftieth season, Doherty says he has no plans of retiring

Former Oregon City High School boys basketball coach Mike Doherty has been named head coach at Newberg High School, after a year at Scappoose.

Doherty, who is in his 50th year as a head basketball coach, is the winningest coach in Oregon high school basketball history and one of the winningest coaches in the nation.

Through last season at Scappoose, his teams had compiled a combined 835-379 win-loss record. Doherty ranks seventh nationally in career wins among active high school basketball coaches.

Doherty, 74, says he doesn't plan to quit coaching any time soon.

'I'd like to go four or five years at Newberg,' he said. 'But we'll see.

'It's not so much the number of years or the record. It's something I've done most of my life. I'll keep coaching until I get the urge to stop and I'm nowhere near there yet. I don't feel any different now than I did when I was in my late 40's and early 50's.'

Doherty, who left Oregon City at the end of the 2009-2010 season, was one of the most successful coaches in Oregon City High School boys basketball history. His 12 varsity teams at Oregon City had a combined win-loss record of 231-90, advancing to the state playoffs 11 times.

In the two seasons before Doherty joined the Pioneers, Oregon City had only six wins in each season.

Doherty's Oregon City teams had six 20-win seasons and they captured second- (2008) and sixth-place (2004) trophies at state. They won Three Rivers League titles in 2004, 2008 and 2010, advancing to the big-school sweet 16 four times.

Doherty is easily the winningest high school coach in Oregon, with 136 more wins than the next winningest coach, retired Beaverton boys basketball coach Nick Robertson (a 699-309 win-loss record over 42 seasons). He's also bested Oregon's winningest girls coach, retired Oregon City coach Brad Smith (626-93 over 27 seasons).

Doherty has coached at nine Oregon high schools - Washington (1962-65), McNary (1965-69), Reynolds (1969-75), Corvallis (1975-91), Baker (1991-95), Hermiston (1995-98), Oregon City (1998-2010), Scappoose (2010-11) and Newberg (1011-).

Besides coaching at Scappoose, last winter Doherty coached his second grade daughter's team in a YMCA league.

'They were kids who hadn't played before and it was kind of fun to get in on the ground floor and teach them to shoot and do things correctly," Doherty said.

Doherty said he was surprised and pleased with how quickly the team of 7- and 8-year-olds picked up running the fastbreak.

'The coaches were also the referees,' Doherty said. 'I'd be at the defensive end. The girls would get the rebound and I'd say, 'Go. Fast break,' and they were off running.'

Doherty has taken high school teams to Oregon School Activities Association sanctioned state tournaments 25 times, and to postseason 35 times. His teams have had seventeen 20-win seasons; they've won 21 league championships, and Doherty has had ten teams place at state.

His Corvallis High teams won two state titles (1980 and 1984), and he coached McNary to the state championship in 1968.

He coached Corvallis to the state final in 1986. In 2008 he coached Oregon City to its first state final since 1945 and only its second final in boys basketball in school history.

Doherty's accomplishments in Oregon have gained him national recognition. He was named High School Coaches Association Regional Coach of the Year in 1986, 1989, 1996 and 2007, and National Coach of the Year in 2007.

Scappoose's varsity team went 10-15 last season under Doherty's tutelage.

'We lost 11 games that were decided in the last minute of play,' Doherty noted.

Newberg last season went 7-17 under first-year head coach Mike Weston.

Although Doherty says he doesn't expect a turnaround overnight, he sees a bright future for Newberg basketball.

'Last year's [Newberg] varsity had seven wins, the jayvee had five wins and the freshmen had four wins,' he said. 'But the incoming freshmen class was very successful as eighth graders….

'We've got a lot of work to do, but we'll get there.'

Doherty was busy last week, conducting a camp for Newberg youth.

'I've only been involved in the program 10 days, so the numbers [at the youth camp] weren't great,' Doherty said Friday. 'We'll do a lot better in the future.'