Still on his Feet: Larry Doty and his no-bummer summer
Larry Doty has been all smiles the past five days.
The former Linfield College men’s basketball coach held his annual High Five Basketball Camp at Ted Wilson Gymnasium, and the old coach exhibited more energy than some of the young athletes in attendance. Here he is, high-fiving and talking with campers. There he goes, correcting another camper’s shooting form. Watch out, he’s demonstrating man-to-man defense. Good luck getting past him. (An assistant professor in Linfield’s athletics, health and human performance department
At the same time, Doty approaches basketball like the professor that, well, he is. (An assistant professor in Linfield’s Health, Human Performance and Athletics department, he is teaching four courses per semester – “not that much different,” he’s quick to note, from his course load as a coach.) He encourages his charges to be in SCHAPE – spirit, communication, hustle, approach, precision, and enhancement, six fundamentals for improving in athletic competition. The acronym sounds fine but doesn’t look quite right. Perhaps that’s what makes it memorable.
The 2014 High Five Basketball Camp is Doty’s second since stepping down as the Wildcats’ head man after 26 seasons. As a Linfield player under Ted Wilson and a coach, his roots run deep beneath the Yamhill County soil.
“Linfield has been a great place for me to be with our family,” he says. “Our kids have benefited from being around college kids. (College kids) have treated them differently. Our family has benefited from that tremendously.
“I enjoy being in the classroom. Always have, immensely. I enjoy that piece about Linfield – I got to meet a lot of great people outside athletics.”
“Let’s get right down to the bones of it,” Doty says suddenly. “Do I miss coaching? Absolutely. No question about it.”
Doty is the winningest head coach in program history, with 330 victories. He’s also the losingest, with 347 defeats. (“I own every bit of that,” he says. “That’s where the buck stops.”) He lays claim to a pair of Northwest Conference championships – in 1998-99 and 2000-01 – and 15 total finishes of third or better.
“It’s been three decades of teaching, coaching, fundraising, recruiting,” Doty says.
And after three decades, he knew the time was right to step aside. Doty didn’t involve himself in the search for Linfield’s next men’s basketball coach, which led to the hiring of Shanan Rosenberg from Foothill Junior College in California. He and Rosenberg have gone on fishing trips together and maintain a cordial relationship. “Shanan Rosenberg is the right guy in the right spot,” Doty says. “I have a lot of respect for Coach Rosenberg. He’s a good X’s-and-O’s guy and a good recruiter.”
So what does a coach do when he’s no longer the coach? The full-time professorship helps. Doty has developed a wide network of connections across basketball, and he’s lent his expertise to former players such as Ryan Svenson – the former coach of Hillsboro High School boys basketball – and O.J. Gulley, the boys basketball coach at Liberty High School in Hillsboro. Willamette coach Kip Ioane invited Doty to participate in his “Coach State” clinic last season, when the Bearcats conducted practices in preparation for a summer trip to Costa Rica. Doty found himself in the company of many current and former college and high school coaches. Old friends and new friends.
“Kip did an outstanding job with that program,” Doty says. “If I was a young coach or an administrator with a young coach, I’d send him to that.”
As Doty made his career change, his son, Dominic, has made a drastic career move of his own. Dominic Doty left the Linfield women’s soccer program – which he led to three straight runner-up finishes in Northwest Conference play the last three seasons – to become an assistant coach with San Jose State women’s soccer. Another bit of upheaval in the Doty household.
It’s amazing what other opportunities open themselves up with more free time. Larry Doty has spent more time with his wife, Devri – an enjoyable outcome of retirement, he insists. He reads more, watches more movies, embarks on more day trips. Not easy to do when high school basketball prospects are considering Linfield.
“This year has been rewarding in many ways,” he says.
And he continues to share in the wealth.