Veteran IBFC coordinator is new Lakeland College football coach
Athletics - posted on 7/2/2007
Kevin Doherty, a veteran offensive coordinator who has been part of two Illini-Badger Football Conference programs that have made the NCAA Division III Playoffs, is Lakeland College's new head football coach.
Doherty has been offensive coordinator at Aurora University, his alma mater, the past four seasons, including a co-IBFC title in 2004 with Lakeland and Concordia, Wis., which netted the Spartans a trip to the NCAA Division III Playoffs. He was also offensive coordinator at MacMurray College for two seasons, a stint that included an IBFC title and playoff trip in 2001.
"Obviously, I'm very excited," said Doherty, who graduated from Aurora in 1995. "I have the opportunity to be a head coach for the first time at a program I have a lot of respect for. A lot of the things I believe in on both sides of the ball I have been seeing at Lakeland College.
"I was attracted by their style of play and the great athletes they have every year. I wanted my first head coaching job to be at a school with a great tradition."
Lakeland Athletic Director Jane Bouche said Doherty's track record in the IBFC and his knowledge of Lakeland's program are pluses as he takes the reins of a program that is 24-4 in the IBFC the last four seasons.
"Kevin is a proven winner in our league and he brings a good dose of the enthusiasm and energy that we were looking for," Bouche said. "This will be his first head coaching position so there will be things he needs to learn, but he has such a good feel for our league and the Division III landscape in the Midwest. He understands what it takes to succeed at this level, and he will be a great fit in our community here at Lakeland."
Doherty becomes the 15th head coach in the college's history as Lakeland prepares for its 71st season of football. He replaces Jim Zebrowski, who left after four seasons to become offensive coordinator at UW-Whitewater. Lakeland was 28-13 in Zebrowski's four seasons, including a league title in 2005 which secured the program's first-ever trip to the Division III Playoffs. Lakeland has not finished lower than second in the IBFC the last four seasons.
Lakeland returns a strong nucleus of players this fall, as 13 of the 19 players who earned all-IBFC awards in 2006 were underclassmen.
Three returnees were named all-IBFC first team and all-region: wide receiver MacArthur White (Zion, Ill./Zion Benton), who was also named co-IBFC Receiver of the Year, defensive lineman Stephan Johnson (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township) and linebacker John Wagner (Kewaunee/Kewanee). Also returning are first team all-IBFC honorees Joe Puhl (Ontonagon, Mich./Ontonagon) on the offensive line and Brad Wilk (Roselle, Ill./Lake Park) at quarterback.
"I know what it's like to coach in the playoffs and I know what it takes to get to that point," said Doherty, who was a QB and wide receiver in high school and college. "I'm well aware of the talent that Lakeland is returning and I'm excited that these players are going to be part of my first team. I'm used to being around players that see themselves as conference champions, and I'm confident that will be the case here at Lakeland."
In addition to his on-field duties at Aurora, Doherty, who has a master's degree in public administration from the University of Illinois-Springfield, served as recruiting coordinator for Aurora's football team and was liaison between Aurora's athletic and admissions departments.
A native of the Chicago suburbs, Doherty was a graduate assistant and receivers coach at the University of Dubuque, Iowa, from 1995-97, then served in numerous position coach roles at Capital University, Ohio, from 1997-99.
Doherty and his wife, Amber, have a 4-year-old son, Colin.
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