by Tom Utescher
After just two seasons at the helm of the Chestnut Hill College Griffins, Brian Dougherty is making a mark as a successful collegiate lacrosse coach. The CHC community was recently reminded of the outstanding career Dougherty enjoyed as a player when it was announced that he will be inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
A two-time All-American goalie at the University of Maryland, Dougherty went on to play for the U.S. National Team, winning two Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) championships. He also won three titles on the professional level in Major League Lacrosse, causing the league to designate him Goalie of the Decade for 2001-2010.
“This is a great honor for Brian, and well deserved,” said CHC Athletic Director Lynn Tubman. “Obviously, we’re excited to have someone of his caliber here at Chestnut Hill to build our lacrosse program.”
For the 2011 season, Dougherty took over a CHC team that only came into being one year before, when the fledgling Griffins franchise had a roster consisting almost entirely of freshmen. Last spring Dougherty led Chestnut Hill to a record 7-7 overall and a mark of 3-7 in the demanding East Coast Conference, and this season the Griffins finished 8-6, 5-5.
A 1992 graduate of Episcopal Academy, Dougherty played high school football in addition to lacrosse. He also played basketball for his father, legendary Episcopal coach Dan Dougherty. He admired EA lacrosse forerunners such as Gabby Roe, who went on to play for the University of Virginia and the Philadelphia Wings, and Penn Charter star Joe Donnelly.
Joseph Donnelly, Jr. was a goalie who played for the U.S. Naval Academy, and his father Joseph Sr., was a longtime coach at Penn Charter who specialized in instructing goaltenders.
“The Donnellys were big influences on me,” Dougherty said. “I learned a lot from them and they helped encourage me to see how far I could go in lacrosse.”
His first stop after Episcopal was the University of Maryland, where as a junior he helped the Terrapins become the 1995 NCAA Runner-Up and was named MVP of the tournament. He also received the Lt. Raymond Enners Award as the outstanding player in the nation. Both that year and in his senior season in 1996, he was a First-Team All-American and, as the nation’s top goalkeeper, was a two-time winner of the Ensign C. Markland Kelly Jr. Award.
After graduating from Maryland, he played for the U.S. National Team, winning FIL championships in 1998 and 2010. In between those two international triumphs Dougherty played with several Major League Lacrosse franchises, winning professional titles with the Long Island Lizards in 2003 and with the Philadelphia Barrage in 2006 and 2007.
Dougherty’s team at Chestnut Hill College is losing only one player to graduation this year, and the school will soon announce another strong class of recruits that will be coming on board. The coach agrees that his long list of accolades, including his recent Hall of Fame selection, helps the reputation of the young program.
“When guys are looking at schools, it’s nice to have that kind of recognition so that a player knows that there are people here who know what they’re doing,” he said.
Lynn Tubman noted “Brian’s name and what he’s done in lacrosse certainly helps in the recruiting process. He’s able to bring in players you wouldn’t ordinarily expect to attract to a program that’s only a few years old.”
Former CHC women’s lacrosse coach and athletic director Janice Kuklick, who is still on staff at the school as chairwoman of the Physical Education Department, was inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2000. Betty Shellenberger, who coached at Chestnut Hill from 1950 to 1977, is a 1994 inductee.