Saturday, May 26, 2001

Doerger excited about return to McNicholas

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Don't expect a 64-year-old choir boy. But Jerry Doerger insists he has mellowed.

        Doerger has been officially reinstated as McNicholas boys basketball coach after a one-year suspension by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

        “I'm probably more excited for next year than for my rookie year,” he said.

        Doerger knows his sideline demeanor will be scrutinized. His verbal attack on two officials in March 2000 after a district championship loss to Dayton Christian initially got him fired, but an outcry of public support for him paved the way for the reduced punishment.

        “If it doesn't kill you, it can benefit you,” Doerger said. “So in that sense, even though I missed the heck out of coaching, I did learn some things from it.

        “I'm a pretty self-disciplined guy, so if I say I can (keep cool) I should be able to. I have to be who I am. But I will make the adjustments that need to be made.”

        Doerger, who turns 65 next month, remained as a counselor at McNicholas this school year. Pat Stricker, his assistant for 10 seasons, coached the varsity on an interim basis and will return to his role as assistant.

        “Coach Doerger lived up to all the expectations of the agreement we had with him,” Archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco said.

        Doerger was allowed to scout opponents for the varsity and assist the McNick freshman team at practice.

        “It was very uncomfortable and very weird all year,” he said. “But working with the freshmen was my savior for the year. I got my coaching fix through those kids. They were good kids.”

        Doerger has been a high school coach for 40 years; the last 25 were as McNicholas' head coach. He has a career record of 433-219. He says he will coach three or four more seasons before retiring.


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