Jim Daugherty was named the head men’s tennis coach at Valparaiso University in the fall of 1985 and has remained at the helm of the Crusader program ever since. He's back for his 33rd year in charge of Valpo men's tennis in 2017-2018.
Daugherty enters the 2017-2018 season coming off back-to-back Horizon League Coach of the Year Awards after guiding his team to consecutive Horizon League regular season titles, two straight Horizon League Tournament titles and back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. Over the last four seasons, he has led the most successful stretch in program history as the Crusaders have broken the program wins record in each of those years. Daugherty has earned five Coach of the Year honors, two in the Horizon League.
The 2017 Crusaders finished with a 23-4 mark and went a perfect 7-0 against Horizon League opponents. The Crusaders faced No. 17 Michigan in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Although the team fell 4-0, Jeffrey Schorsch and Charlie Emhardt became the first players in program history to win a doubles match in the team portion of the NCAA Tournament. After finishing as the ITA National Indoor doubles runners-up in the fall, Schorsch and Emhardt reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Doubles Tournament in the spring, becoming the first All-Americans in program history. The duo fell in a three-set thriller to the No. 1 doubles team in the nation. Over the course of the season, they knocked off three doubles teams ranked in the Top 10 nationally and finished the year at No. 21 in the ITA National Doubles Rankings. Schorsch captured Horizon League Player of the Year honors for the third straight season in 2017, becoming the first player in league history to win the award outright three years in a row.
Under Daugherty's tutelage, the 2017 senior class (Schorsch, Emhardt, Kyle Dunn and Dave Bacalla) rewrote the program record book. Those four players left owning eight of the Top 9 single-season singles victory totals, all of the Top 8 single-season doubles victories, five of the Top 8 single-season singles winning percentage, nine of the Top 10 single-season doubles winning percentage, the Top 4 in career singles wins, the Top 4 in career doubles wins, three of the Top 4 in career singles winning percentage and the Top 3 in career doubles winning percentage.
The 2016 edition of the Crusaders netted 22 wins, amending the previous program watermark. For the second straight year, Jeffrey Schorsch was named Horizon League Player of the Year under Daugherty's direction. In addition to capturing the first league title since Valpo became a member of the Horizon League, the Brown and Gold made a strong showing at the NCAA Regionals in Evanston before dropping a 4-1 result to the 14th-ranked Northwestern Wildcats. The one point represented ended a 22-year streak where HL teams were shutout in the NCAA Tournament.
Daugherty led Valpo to a 21-7 record in 2015, two more wins than the school record set the season prior. The 2015 squad finished second in the Horizon League during the regular season and claimed runner-up honors at the Horizon League Championships. He coached six players to over 20 singles wins including Jeffrey Schorsch, who was set the single-season record for singles victories with 28. On the doubles side, Daugherty helped five players to 20 or more doubles wins with two sophomores breaking the single-season record for wins with 30.
Overall, seven different Crusaders earned Horizon League Player of the Week honors in 2015. During the fall, three players earned entries into the main draw of singles play in the ITA Regionals. Furthermore, two teams also gained entries into the ITA Regionals doubles play, where one team advanced to the semifinals and the other made it to the Round of 16.
Valpo recorded a 19-9 record in 2014, breaking the old school mark for wins a season by seven. That squad advanced to the semifinals of the Horizon League Championship after not qualifying for the league tournament in any of the previous four seasons. Daugherty led Jeffrey Schorsch to HL Freshman of the Year honors, a first Team All-League winner in Dave Bacalla and a Second Team All-League honoree in Charlie Emhardt. Five players were named HL Players of the Week in 2014.
Eric Honert broke the school record for career wins (69) while on Daugherty's watch in the fall of 2013. During the 2012-13 campaign, Daugherty coached two Horizon League Players of the Week and a Second Team All-League recipient.
In 2008, Daugherty helped guide the Brown and Gold into its inaugural season in the Horizon League, where the Crusaders finished in fifth place. A year later in 2009, his squad finished in a tie for fourth in the league during the regular season, Valpo’s first top half finish since joining the league.
Daugherty was named Mid-Continent Conference Coach of the Year in 2002, the third time he had received such an honor, after guiding the Crusaders to the Mid-Continent Conference regular season title. Daugherty, who also earned the accolade in 1988 and 1999, has been teaching and coaching tennis for nearly 30 years. He is a certified USPTA teaching professional.
During his tenure at Valpo, he coached 36 All Mid-Continent Conference selections, including the conference Player of the Year honorees in 1998, 2002 and 2006.
Daugherty was also the head women’s coach at Valparaiso from 1985-1995 simultaneously while coaching the men’s program.
Daugherty played collegiate tennis at Ball State University from 1974-1977, where he played consistently at the top of the lineup in both singles and doubles. Daugherty captained the team during both his junior and senior season with the Cardinals. He earned his B.S. degree in business administration from Ball State in 1977 and his M.S. degree in sport management from the U.S. Sports Academy in 1993.
In addition to coaching, Daugherty has been teaching in Valpo's physical education department for 25 years. Jim and his wife Cathy reside in Valparaiso.