Inability to win away from home warranted reason for coach’s end

The headline was corrected at 9:52 p.m. March 19.

Head men’s basketball coach Neil Dougherty had six seasons with TCU before his release Sunday, six seasons of home blues and road malaise.

The 18th head coach in Horned Frog basketball history, Dougherty’s career had its ups but his inability to win on the road in the Mountain West Conference kept the program from ever becoming a serious contender.

While he was arguably one of the kindest and most genuine people at TCU, he failed to take the team over the hump in a more competitive conference and suffered a timely consequence as a result.

Dougherty had early success before TCU entered the MWC. In the team’s last season in Conference USA in 2005, Dougherty led the Horned Frogs to the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament. That season also featured a team that hit the 20-win mark for only the 11th time in program history.

The Mountain West, unfortunately, put an end to the good times for Dougherty and his Horned Frogs.

In the first season as a member, TCU went 2-14 in the Mountain West with a 6-25 record overall. The second season was not much better. TCU went 4-12 in conference and 13-17 overall.

Dougherty kept his two-extra-conference-wins-a-year pace this past season, finishing 6-10 with an overall record of 14-16.

So he was slowly improving, pulling out wins at home, but conference road games seemed impossible for Dougherty and the team.

In his three seasons as a Mountain member, Dougherty won two conference road games. Through 48 conference games, TCU has two road wins. Three years, two wins and one awful-looking record.

In his campaign for home support, Dougherty explained to students how incredible the other conference arena’s home crowds are. He talked about sold-out coliseums and seas of color, students screaming in synchronization – the ideal home crowds he also hoped for.

Could the lack of home support have led to the team’s inability to play in front of an audience? Even if so, it’s no excuse for two wins.

Dougherty’s infectious personality and comical honesty will be missed without a doubt, but as for Horned Frog basketball, the road hopefully winds in the right direction this time.