Staff Photo: John Bohn Kent Doehrman, a Brookwood softball team assistant coach.
Kent Doehrman, 51, is the assistant varsity and head ninth grade softball coach at Brookwood. The long-time coach has spent time at Lithonia, Central Gwinnett and Meadowcreek since moving to Georgia in 1982.
In this installment of "Getting to Know..." staff writer Ben Beitzel talks with the Indiana native about working on softball and baseball fields, suddenly becoming a head varsity coach during a game and the bad state of IU basketball.
BB: How did you get to Atlanta from Indiana?
KD: I met my wife up at school, up at Hanover College. She graduated the year before I did and moved down here. Back in '82 there weren't a lot of jobs during the recession back then so I came down here and had my pick of jobs and I stayed down here ever since.
BB: Where did you pick to work?
KD: I worked at Lithonia High School. I was teacher-coach.
BB: What all have you coached?
KD: I have coached basketball, I've coached baseball, tennis, golf, ninth-grade football, softball. I have about coached it all, girls basketball.
BB: Did you play a sport at Hanover?
KD: In college I played two years, it was called Freshman ball. I am from Indiana. And I played four years of baseball in college.
BB: Did you start coaching baseball?
KD: Actually, basketball was my first job at Lithonia High School. I was the eighth-grade coach and the varsity assistant. Then I assisted in baseball to Tom Jones, who was the head coach at Lithonia at the time. I helped him with baseball my first two years of teaching. I've coached baseball and that got me to the point ... they do a whole lot of field work. I have done softball now with Bill (Batchelor) for a while, but I didn't do a lot of baseball early because they spent a whole lot of time on the field.
BB: And they couldn't have been as nice a starting point as you have now.
KD: At Lithonia they were nice. You had to put work into it at the time and Tom did, so to be an assistant you have to do that. (laughs).
BB: Out of all those sports is there one you prefer to coach?
KD: I coached basketball the whole time. I was head coach at Meadowcreek for 14 years and I went to Central Gwinnett for two years and was eighth-grade and JV coach for Jim Clanahan. So I've always coached basketball and I've sometimes had a second sport and sometimes a third sport. I just always wanted to coach and basketball has always been my first love to coach.
BB: Do you miss being a head coach?
KD: No. I got out of coaching because my kids got to the age were I wanted to see them play. It got to the point where my son was playing his eighth-grade or ninth grade year and I think I saw one game. I'd always told our parents they needed to be supporting their kids and I wasn't there to see mine play so I had to change. When I game over here (to Brookwood) Debbie Dees was the girls coach then, she is our principal now, and I assisted her for a year, but I got to see my kids play through high school, which is what I wanted to do. The head coaching part, eh, I miss it to a point, I like being around the kids and I like coaching, but there are a whole lot of other things that go along with the head coaching job...
BB: You probably are spared parents calls and stuff like that.
KD: (pause) ...No. You don't have to deal with the parents' calls, all the fundraising, all the other stuff. There are a whole lot of intricacies as a head coach you have to do and I do not miss that. But I was the Dugout Club president at Loganville for four years so I still did all that, all the fundraising and that stuff, but it was something that I wanted to do at that time and (Brookwood) allowed me to do it at that time, which was nice. That is why I got out of the head coaching part of it.
BB: With all your kids going to Loganville and your daughter, Amy, a cheerleader there, do you spend Friday nights at Loganville games?
KD: If she is cheering, yes. If she is cheering, I am at Loganville football games. I get updates from here, but I need to go see her. It's a push sometimes (laughs), but it's good.BB: Was it fun last year when you got to coach the rest of the game when Bill Batchelor got thrown out?
KD: (laughs) I didn't want to screw anything up for him. He does a great job. He lets me do my job in ninth grade. I am here and I've coached these girls, a lot of them, but it's a whole different feel when it gets to the varsity level. But, no, it was fun. Competition is competition and it was fun, but he's got a little bit more pressure in his game then I have in my games. It was good, it was fun. But I did say, 'Don't do it again.' (laughing).
BB: Do you miss Indiana at all?
KD: We go back every summer to the no-air conditioning of my parents' house. My kids always dread it so much. I miss it to a point, just because up there basketball is kind of like a Kingpin. It's like football is down here. My kid have grown up down here, but my parents still live up in Ft. Wayne. I don't miss the winters, I don't miss the snow. I don't miss that part of it. It's good down here. It would be a tough move (back). It brings back all the memories of shoveling and all the bad parts of snow.
BB: You still an IU basketball fan?
KD: Oh yeah, oh yeah. I have my big red (banner). I haven't put it up in my office yet because Bill Shields is there and he's got that Florida junk and I can't argue any more. Not right now. (Indiana) is kind of rebuilding. I enjoyed coach (Bobby) Knight. I went to a lot of his coaching clinics. But they've got to get back on the upswing before I can pull out my full allegiance, I guess.
BB: That team's struggles must be hard on a basketball state like Indiana.
KD: It's been tough. What (Kelvin) Sampson did really hurt, a lot. I don't know if (Tom) Crean can last, but he has some good recruits coming in. I don't know if they'll give him enough time. It's tough. People up there are old school and it's like, 'If coach Knight were here...' Well, it probably wouldn't be. But they still think that way.