On January 13, the McNicholas Board of Limited Jurisdiction voted unanimously to approve a motion in favor of naming the main gym floor in honor of Coach Jerry Doerger.
Coach Doerger has devoted his entire adult life to inspiring young people. As a coach, counselor, and teacher at McNicholas from 1975 to 2003, Coach Doerger taught hundreds of our students the lifelong values of courage, respect, enthusiasm, resilience, teamwork, and relentless effort.
Coach Doerger is the most successful coach in McNicholas history in any sport. The Rocket basketball teams he led made five state final four appearances, won 10 district championships, and brought home 15 sectional championships.
His lifetime record as a head coach is 537-354, and he has been inducted into the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, Greater Cincinnati Basketball Hall of Fame, and McNicholas Athletic Hall of Fame. At 84 years old, Coach Doerger continues his ministry to young people as an assistant coach at a local east side high school.
In 1990, to honor an extraordinary McNicholas student athlete who died of cancer, Coach Doerger started the Jeff Smith Memorial Scholarship Award. For thirty years, he has funded this scholarship, which is awarded annually to one male and one female junior who participate in co-curricular activities and exemplify the ideals of Christian leadership.
“Let there be no doubt, Jerry Doerger was a fire-breathing dragon as a coach. His in-your-face ‘tough love’ style and exchanges with referees are mostly a thing of the past. But also let there be no doubt that Coach Doerger deeply loved McNick students and athletes, focusing extra attention on young people who were in need of extra guidance or assistance. Years later, many of them still count on ‘Coach’ for encouragement and advice, and they pass on his lessons. In this, we see the true measure of Coach Jerry Doerger as a human being,” Director of Development John Jorden said.
Coach Doerger was a larger-than-life presence on campus. Many former students have fond memories of the unmistakable raspy bass tone of Coach’s voice, particularly when he belted out his special rendition of “Happy Birthday” in the cafeteria.
Pat Stricker ‘85 and Tim Monahan ‘96, former Doerger players and later McNick head basketball coaches, agree that Coach Doerger was an inspirational figure in their lives and so many other young men who played for him. Coach Monahan stated, “I wouldn’t be where I am today without Coach Doerger’s guidance, inspiration, and belief in me.”
Athletic Director, Drew Schmidt added, “Congratulations to Coach on a well-deserved honor. We are thrilled to be able to express our gratitude for a life of service to McNicholas High School, Rocket basketball, and the McNick community. Coach Doerger will forever be in our hearts and on our floor."
With great pride and excitement, we will dedicate the floor to Coach Doerger at an upcoming men’s basketball game. Next school year, as soon as we are able to gather in large groups, we will again honor Coach Doerger with a large celebration fit for the occasion.