OFFICIAL: Craig Doty Named Head Basketball Coach at Emporia State

Photo Courtesy ESU Athletics

Following up on a tweet that I sent earlier this evening…

Emporia State University Director of Athletics Kent Weiser has announced that Craig Doty, who just coached Graceland University to the NAIA Division I National Championship, will be the newest head coach of the Hornet men’s basketball program. An introductory press conference will be held on Friday, April 27 at 2:00 p.m. in the Sauder Alumni Center on the Emporia State campus.

“It’s a great honor to be named the head men’s basketball coach at Emporia State University,” said Doty. “I want to personally thank athletic director Kent Weiser and his athletic administrators Kristy Bayer and Don Weast. Along with my wife Alexys and son Braylon, we are excited to make the move to Emporia. We look forward to bringing the storied ESU program back to the national spotlight.”

In just two seasons at Graceland Doty went 49-22 and led the Yellowjackets to the NAIA Division I National Championship in the school’s first trip to the national tournament at Kansas City’s historic Municipal Auditorium. An NAIA modern day record of 6,377 were on hand for the championship game. Graceland advanced to Kansas City after winning the Heart of America Conference Tournament Championship in front of an overflow crowd of 2500 at the Closson Center in Lamoni, Iowa.

“We are so excited to have coach Craig Doty as our new men’s basketball head coach. He has a track record of success on the national level,” said Weiser. “I’m looking forward to working with him to re-invigorate the Hornet men’s basketball program.”

Prior to his time at Graceland the 32 year old Doty spent four years as the head coach at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Ill. His Golden Eagles won two national championships and appeared in three straight NJCAA Division III title games. After going 19-16 his first year at Rock Valley he rolled off three straight 30 win seasons.

“I am incredibly grateful for my two years at Graceland University,” said Doty. “We inherited a program that had never made a national tournament and we won a national championship in our second year. ”

Doty’s teams have excelled both on and off the court. His Yellowjackets took part in elementary school Mentoring, Leadership and Fun days in Lamoni along with Special Olympics basketball camps at Graceland. Jeremy Deemer was named an NAIA Scholar-Athlete in each of the last two years for Graceland. While at Rock Valley the Golden Eagles partnered with Windsor Elementary Anti-Bullying Parade in Loves Park, Ill. and were a part of Transform Rockford – a community initiative to improve the social and economic well being of the community. Men’s basketball had the best team GPA in the Rock Valley Athletic Department his last year at the school.

Before taking over as a head coach, Doty spent time as an assistant with four programs. He began his collegiate coaching career as a volunteer assistant at his alma mater Morningside (Iowa) College while also serving as the head coach at Akron-Westfield HS in Akron, Iowa as he finished his degree. He then went to NJCAA D-I Central Wyoming College for the 2010-11 season, serving as the interim head coach for two months after his head coach moved on to a new job. He then went to Riverland (Minn.) for the 2011-12 season before getting the chance to coach at the University of Sioux Falls from April through October of 2012 before getting the chance to become a head coach at Rock Valley just weeks before the start of the season.

A 2010 graduate of Morningside, the Mustangs went 56-37 record, made the Sweet Sixteen of the NAIA DII National Tournament, were ranked as high as #10 in the country, and won a Great Plains Athletic Conference title during Doty’s tenure as a player and assistant coach. He is a graduate of Alcester-Hudson (S.D.) HS. In his senior season, Doty set the school record for single season scoring with an average of 25.5 points per game. His junior season, Doty led his squad to a 17-4 record and a number four ranking in the state of South Dakota.

“Athletics can be an incredible vehicle to teach life-long lessons to young men and women,” said Doty. “Athletics allow for confidence and excitement to be built in institutions of higher education. Along with educating and graduating student-athletes, we accomplished all of this at the highest levels at Graceland and Rock Valley and want to do the same thing at Emporia State.”

Emporia State finished the season 9-19 with 13 of their losses coming by five points or less or in overtime, including their last three games by a total of seven points. They graduated three players last year and the returners are led by two-time All-MIAA performer Brandon Hall.

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