McMINNVILLE, Ore. – An apple who didn’t fall far from the tree, Larry Doty is now the winningest coach in Linfield College men’s basketball history.
Tuesday night at Linfield's Ted Wilson Gymnasium, Doty notched career victory No. 325, surpassing Wilson, his college coach, for most career victories. Linfield beat the Pacific Boxers 72-66 in the record-clinching win.
For Doty, success has seldom been measured by wins and losses. His coaching principles – many of them honed while competing for Wilson – continue to resonate throughout his graduated players.
“Even through all the success our teams had, I learned far more about life than basketball,” says Rob Emerson, a public safety officer with the Bend Police Department whose career spanned from 1997 until 2001 and included two Northwest Conference championships.
“‘Dotes’ always exposed us to his family and shared struggles and triumphs with us. He made us an extension of his family during a time when we were away on our own,” recalls Emerson. “I am a father now as well. I try to emulate things he taught me all the time.”
In an era of instant gratification, Doty has evolved into a hybrid of sorts. His tenure at Linfield straddles generations who grew up watching iron-fisted coaches Vince Lombardi and John Wooden as well as the 'what-have-you-done-for-me-lately' generation that isn’t shocked when a coach is dismissed after one or two bad seasons.
As the years have ticked by, Doty’s coaching style has softened. Where once he paced the sideline and constantly ranted to officials, today he spends most of the game seated on the bench.
“I’m proud to have played for Ted and to have been able to carry on some of the tradition that he started at Linfield,” said Doty. “This milestone speaks volumes about the type of student-athlete who comes to Linfield to earn a degree and play basketball."
A three-sport athlete who competed in football, basketball and baseball before graduating in 1978, Doty says exceeding Wilson’s wins total is humbling. Wilson is a member of the NAIA and Linfield halls of fame.
“I’m very appreciative of the fact the college gave me the opportunity to coach basketball and be a faculty member,” he said. "It’s given me the opportunity to have regular contact with students. That’s been one of the most enjoyable parts of the last two decades.”
His career record stands at 325 wins and 320 defeats. All told, he has taken the Wildcats to conference championships in 1999 and 2001, plus three more runner-up finishes.
Other former players who went on to productive careers describe the positive influence Doty had on them as individuals.
“Coach Doty definitely made a life-lasting impact on me,” says former Wildcats all-star O.J. Gulley, a history teacher and varsity boys basketball coach at Hillsboro’s Liberty High School.
“Not only from a basketball standpoint but everyday life as well. Since I’ve become a head coach, I realize more and more each day just how much. Coach Doty stressed the fundamentals of basketball and those are the important skills that all good coaches must do no matter the level of play. Every time I address my team in the locker room, I have his voice and terminology in the back of my head.”
“Coach Doty was only a second-year college coach when I arrived at Linfield and he had more of an impact on me than anyone,” said former guard Jason deVries, corporate development director with Klamath Falls-based JeldWen. “I know of no coach who is more dedicated to developing young men to be the best they can be – not only on the basketball court, but in life.
“It's amazing to think of all the student-athletes Coach Doty has influenced in his 25 years coaching at Linfield and, more importantly, to think of the compounding effect from those who are now passing on his dedication to excellence to others,” said deVries, who moonlights as an assistant basketball coach at Oregon Tech. “To be able to have that influence and to also become the all-time career wins leader at Linfield is truly a remarkable accomplishment. Not a day goes by that I don't recall a lesson learned from Coach Doty. Having known Coach Wilson, I know he would be proud of Larry and this tremendous achievement.”
Coach Larry Doty
Teaching life's lessons mean more than wins
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128