June Daugherty, a longtime college women’s basketball coach who spent 22 years of her career directing the programs at University of Washington and Washington State, died Monday at the age of 64, according to The Spokesman-Review.
Daugherty, who suffered from heart complications throughout her coaching career, was at home in Boise when she died.
For the better part of three decades, Daugherty was a women’s basketball fixture in the Northwest, spending time as a head coach at Boise State (1989-96), Washington (1996-2007) and WSU (2007-18). Daugherty amassed a career win/loss record of 443-441.
At UW, Daugherty guided the Huskies to six NCAA tournament appearances, including a trip to the Elite Eight in 2001. In 2003, Daugherty led the Huskies to a 22-8 record and was named a finalist for the Naismith College Coach of the Year Award.
“The Husky community is heartbroken to hear about the passing of June Daugherty,” UW Athletic Director Jen Cohen said in a statement Wednesday. “Not only did Coach Daugherty make a lasting impact at the University of Washington over her 11 years on campus, but her commitment and influence on women’s basketball in the state of Washington and Pacific Northwest has been felt for over two decades.
“On the court, she led Washington to six NCAA appearances, but it was her ability to promote a family atmosphere and positively mold the lives of the many women who played under June that will be remembered and missed the most.”
During Daugherty’s 11th and final season with the Cougars, she took a medical leave of absence and never returned to the team’s bench. Not long after the school announced Daugherty wouldn’t return for the 2018-19 basketball season, WSU Athletic Director Pat Chun said on his weekly radio show that the coach’s departure was related to performance and not a response to her medical situation.
Meanwhile, her husband, Mike, WSU’s longtime associate head coach, took over interim coaching duties. He was also the associate head coach at UW and Boise State when his wife coached at both schools.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Mike Daugherty said, “the world is a lesser place starting on Tuesday.”
“She was the GOAT [Greatest of All Time] because of the way she treated everyone,” Mike Daugherty wrote. “Those who knew her know how special and spectacular she was. She was the greatest mother, lover and friend. She cared for her family, my mother, her friends, my family, her players, and all who came into contact with her no matter how they treated her. She had zero intolerance except for those who were hateful and intolerant.”
The post continued: “I would like to thank all of you who have been in contact with me for your kind words and support. The world is a different place for me now. If you know Doc and Breanne please reach out to them. They are great caring people like their mother and this is an especially difficult time for them. I think it helps for them to know how many people their mother touched over the years.”
Despite her success in Seattle, Daugherty’s run at UW came to an abrupt end after the 2007 season. After UW was eliminated from the 2007 NCAA tournament, then-UW Athletic Director Todd Turner fired her, citing a lack of “buzz” around the program and low attendance.
Daugherty took over the women’s basketball program at WSU the following season, but didn’t have similar success in Pullman. In Daugherty’s 11 years at WSU, the Cougars went 130-217 overall and 56-141 in Pac-12/10 Conference play. Although Daugherty never brought WSU back to the NCAA tournament, she ended a run of 17 straight losing seasons by going 17-17 in 2013-14 and had her first winning season one year later, going 17-15.
Between Daugherty’s stints at UW and WSU, she had a heart attack and was hospitalized in critical condition at one point. In a letter printed in The Spokesman-Review following her retirement, Daugherty wrote that her health was improving “and I am getting stronger every day. “
Daugherty earned her first head coaching job in 1989 at BSU, leading the Broncos to five winning seasons, an overall record of 122-75 and one appearance in the NCAA tournament, at the end the 1993-94 season. The Columbus, Ohio, native was an assistant coach at both Kent State (1983-85) and Stanford (1985-89) after her playing career at Ohio State finished in 1978.
Along with her husband, Daugherty is survived by her two children, Doc and Breanne, and her parents.
Seattle Times staff contributed to this report.