On Saturday the Rock Valley College Golden Eagles traveled to College of DuPage to play a solid 15-4 Chaparrals team. RVC would come home with a 89-50 victory. The win marked #100 for the Spalding 2014 NJCAA D3 National Coach of the Year Craig Doty who is in his 4th season leading the Golden Eagles.
“Winning 100 games in under four years means you have had outstanding student-athletes, great assistants, and a supportive administration,” Doty said. “Rock Valley College encourages success at so many levels for students. I am thrilled to be a part of this great institution.”
Since Doty’s arrival the Golden Eagles have earned a reputation as one of the best programs in the country who employ one of the toughest schedule in the country year-in and year-out. In fact, over the past four seasons Rock Valley College has a 46-16 record vs. scholarship NJCAA D1 and D2 opponents. Currently, the Golden Eagles are 20-2 and have held the #1 ranking in the country for an unprecedented 20 consecutive national polls dating back to October 27th, 2014.
Doty was hired at RVC on October 1st, 2012 and inherited a program that was ranked last in the N4C conference/Region 4 poll. Despite the dire situation and the untimely manner of taking over a program, Doty led RVC to the Region 4 and District 2 Championship in his first season and a trip to the National Tournament in New York for only the 2nd time in, at that time, the 46 year history of the men’s basketball program. The Golden Eagles would earn a 7th place finish, the same finish the 2001 team had in RVC’s only other appearance at the national tournament.
Doty was able to recruit the likes of Jared Mayes, LT Davis, Ben Grygiel and Jack Harrison and in the following season, history would be made for Rock Valley College. The Golden Eagles would go book their ticket to New York for a 2nd consecutive season and would go 30-5 overall while winning the 2014 NJCAA D3 National Championship over Caldwell Tech (North Carolina) in the championship game. Mayes would earn National Player of the Year, Davis earned MVP of the National Tournament, and Doty would collect six Coach of the Year awards including National Coach of the Year from the NJCAA.
With the target firmly on their back for the 2014-15 season, the Golden Eagles would impress once again. RVC would win the N4C Conference Championship (t) with a 13-1 conference record and would, for a third consecutive season, win the Region 4 and District 2 Championships to secure their spot in the national tournament in New York. The Golden Eagles would dominate in the first two rounds to earn a return trip to the National Championship game with a chance to defend their national title. Though RVC would lose a 11 point second half lead and fall to Richland College (Dallas, TX) by 3, the Golden Eagles would finish with a 31-4 record and a National Runner-up.
“I am very grateful to our athletic director and a personal friend Misty Opat, who, four years ago, took a chance on hiring a complete stranger who was an assistant coach from the University of Sioux Falls who didn’t have any head college coaching experience,” Doty said. “Our ‘student-first’ philosophy in our athletic department is a shared vision from all of our coaches. This is truly a special place to work.”
Photo Courtesy Rock Valley Athletics