Coming off another successful season, FGCU head men’s basketball coach Joe Dooley has signed a two-year contraction extension and received a raise to remain with the Eagles through the 2019-20 season.
In his three seasons with FGCU, Dooley has guided the Eagles to more than 20 wins each year, an Atlantic Sun Tournament Championship, A-Sun Regular-Season Championship, NCAA Tournament appearance and three postseason trips, capped last month with a historical victory in the NCAA Tournament First Four.
“I first want to thank Director of Athletics Ken Kavanagh and University PresidentDr. Wilson Bradshaw for instilling their trust in me to continue to lead this great program,” Dooley said. “This is a terrific opportunity to continue building something really special with a talented group of returners and newcomers, and I’m looking forward to getting started with the 2016-17 season.”
Dooley posted his third-straight 20-win season (21-14) with FGCU in 2015-16 as the Eagles claimed their second A-Sun Tournament Championship in four years. FGCU won its third NCAA Tournament game in four years with a 96-65 victory over fellow 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson in the First Four – with the 31-point margin of victory in that round of the tournament being the largest in NCAA history.
The Eagles would go on to face top-seeded North Carolina in the First Round and trailed by just one at halftime, 41-40 – the closest any team would get to the eventual national runner-ups – before falling to the Tar Heels in Raleigh, 83-67.
“Joe has more than earned both the extension and increase in compensation,” surmised Kavanagh. “He took over the program at a pivotal time and has elevated our overall results since. In turn, we are very excited about our future prospects and already are looking ahead to next season.”
Under Dooley’s guidance, Marc-Eddy Norelia (Orlando, Fla./Tulane/Olympia HS)was named to the A-Sun First Team and set the program’s single-season scoring record with 597 points. Zach Johnson (Miami, Fla./Norland HS) was named to the A-Sun All-Freshman Team and established the program’s freshman scoring record with 387 points.
Norelia was named to the A-Sun All-Tournament Team along with Johnson and sophomore Christian Terrell (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence HS). In addition to being named A-Sun Tournament MVP, Dooley helped mentor Norelia to an NABC All-District First Team selection and a spot on the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association Scholar-Athlete Team.
Dooley’s 2015-16 team set the program’s Division-I record for points per game (77.2), rebounds per game (40.6), field-goal percentage (47.9 – best all-time), blocks per game (4 – best all-time) and scoring margin (+6.6).
In 2014-15, Dooley posted his second-consecutive 22-win season with FGCU as the Eagles made their third-straight postseason appearance overall by hosting a CIT (CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament) opening-round game. The Green and Blue finished with a 22-11 overall record, including an 11-3 mark in the A-Sun.
Dooley coached three all-conference selections in 2014-15 as Brett Comer was named to the A-Sun First Team, Jamail Jones landed on the A-Sun Second Team and Terrell was tabbed to the A-Sun All-Freshman Team. Additionally, Comer was named to the NABC All-District First Team, while Bernard Thompson was on the NABC All-District Second Team.
In 2013-14, Dooley completed his first season on the FGCU sidelines, guiding the Eagles to their first A-Sun Regular Season Championship and first trip to the NIT. FGCU finished the year with a 22-13 mark, including a record 14 wins as part of a 14-4 A-Sun mark.
Dooley coached three all-conference picks during the season as Comer and Thompson were both tabbed as A-Sun First Team members and Chase Fieler was named to the A-Sun Second Team. Both Thompson and Fieler were named to the A-Sun All-Tournament Team as well, and throughout the course of the year Comer earned two A-Sun Player of the Week awards while Fieler garnered one.
Prior to arriving in Southwest Florida, Dooley spent 10 seasons as an assistant at Kansas under head coach Bill Self. During that decade, Kansas produced 300 wins, nine-straight Big 12 regular-season titles, six Big 12 Tournament championships, six NCAA Sweet 16s, five NCAA Elite Eight appearances and two Final Fours, including the 2008 National Championship.
Dooley’s first college coaching position was at South Carolina, where he was an assistant for three seasons from 1988-91 before accepting the same position at East Carolina from 1991-95. His first head coaching job came at East Carolina, leading the program to a 57-52 record from 1995-96 – one of just two head coaches in ECU history to produce a winning record at the D-I level.
A former assistant coach at New Mexico and Wyoming as well, Dooley has a combined record of 608-296 (.673 winning percentage) in 28 seasons as an assistant coach and head coach.
A heralded recruiter, Dooley has positioned FGCU for continued success. The Eagles – who had four A-Sun Newcomer of the Week recognitions in 2015-16 – return 84 percent of their points, 88 percent of their rebounds and 89 percent of their assists next year as the team will have arguably its deepest and most talented group in program history.
Photo Courtesy FGCU Athletics