Gene Doane, one of the winningest high school basketball coaches in Montgomery County history, died last Friday at a hospice in North Carolina. He was 82.
During his tenure in Maryland, Doane coached at Sherwood, Blair and Seneca Valley where he compiled an overall 447-113 record in nearly three decades at the helm.
“He was an exceptional coach,” said David Dickerson, who played for Doane at Blair. “He was way ahead of his time.”
Doane, a Silver Spring native and University of Maryland graduate, was widely regarded as a strict tactician who captured multiple county and region titles during his stint as a local high school basketball coach. The Blair graduate guided his alma mater to Class AA state championships in 1975 and 1977.
He coached various players at Blair who went on to compete at the collegiate level including Dickerson (Hampton), Cedric Boatman (Central State), Brian Magid (Maryland/George Washington) and Willis Wilson (Rice) among others.
“Blair Nation mourns a great loss,” Magid said in a posting on Facebook. “Many of us, former players, students and teachers alike, will cherish the wonderful memories that Coach Doane was a huge part of. His memory and legacy will live on in the stories that we tell. Prayers and comfort go out to the Doane family.”
At Seneca Valley, Doane coached Doug Turner (St. Bonaventure) and Charlie Thomas (Wake Forest/New Mexico) who both played Division I college basketball.
During the 1981-82 campaign, Doane guided Seneca Valley to a 23-1 record and was selected to coach the Capital All-Stars in the McDonald’s Capital Classic where he guided the local team to an 82-79 victory over the U.S. All-Stars before 11,022 spectators at Capital Centre in Landover.
The Capital All-Stars featured Mackin’s Johnny Dawkins and Northwestern’s Len Bias who were named Co-MVP’s. Future NBA players Dell Curry, Brad Daugherty and David Wingate played on the U.S. All-Star team.
“His style of coaching is what I remember mostly,” said Turner, who scored five points for the Capital All-Stars in 1982. “[He was] very intense and outspoken. He was an excellent teacher of the game. I learned so much more about the game through him. My heart is heavy.”
Thomas, largely regarded as the best all-around player in Seneca Valley history, averaged 20 points, 12 rebounds and six assists per game during his senior campaign at the Germantown public school.
Thomas affectionately called Doane “Daddy Gene” because he served as a father figure amongst his players.
“He was my main man,” said Thomas. “He was a mentor. He taught you more about life than just the game. He was the best coach I ever had.”
Doane was also known to crack a whip on the hardwood from time to time and was compared to Bobby Knight in that regard.
“He would ream people out,” added Thomas. “He would get on your tail but he would show you a lot of love. He instilled in me a work ethic that kind of carried me through my career and through life.”
Doane left Montgomery County in 1986 to accept a position teaching and coaching in North Carolina but his legacy in Maryland will not be forgotten any time soon.