FORTVILLE — While considering the open Mt. Vernon girls basketball coaching position, one of the first people Steve Doud reached out to was Brian Kehrt, a friend and former coaching colleague.
Kehrt, the current second-year New Palestine girls coach, was the head coach of the Dragons’ boys program from 1995-2004. Doud was head coach of the Mt. Vernon boys from 1996-2006.
“I called him, and I just wanted to get a feel for how he’s liking it,” Doud, 50, said. “And he said he loves it. And I’m thinking, ‘That’s all I need to hear.’”
Doud followed Kehrt’s path and was hired by the Mt. Vernon school board Monday as the Marauders’ new girls basketball leader.
Doud replaces Julie Shelton, who recently stepped down after 16 seasons, two State Finals appearances and with a .706 win percentage to become an assistant at Butler University.
The Marauders won at least 17 games in Shelton’s final five seasons, highlighted by the 2013 Class 3A state title.
“I think most coaches like to come in with programs that are not doing so well and try to build them into programs,” said Doud, a math teacher at MV since 1996. “The program here is already at a high level, so the job is to keep it at that level.
“They’re big shoes to fill. Lord have mercy, a state championship and a state runner-up? How many coaches in the state don’t even win a sectional?”
Doud has two sectional titles to his credit. A 1982 Mt. Vernon graduate, Doud went on to graduate from Oral Roberts in Tulsa, Oklahoma, before beginning his coaching career at Rensselaer Central. The Bombers posted winning records in four of Doud’s five seasons in Jasper County and won a sectional championship in 1995.
Doud won another sectional with the Marauders in 1999. Including Doud’s time at Rensselaer Central and his first four seasons at Mt. Vernon, his teams went 121-78 with the two postseason crowns.
His final six MV squads were 38-89.
“Before I came to Mt. Vernon, (the won-loss record) was really good,” Doud said with a laugh. “And then the first four years at Mt. Vernon it was pretty good.
“And then the last six I just struggled to get the teams to go. It was just really an uphill battle the whole way.”
A losing record for the now-4A Marauders this winter would be a surprise, even with a challenging schedule. MV will return recent Kentucky commit and incoming junior Sydney Shelton, along with senior all-around Olivia Coleman and several other contributors from last season’s squad.
In his first season at New Palestine over the winter, Kehrt went 9-11 – a six-win improvement from the previous season – including a loss to the Marauders. He is confident his fellow coach is up to the task at Mt. Vernon.
“When we talked, I told him that he is too good of a coach not to be on the bench, and that I have totally enjoyed coaching the young ladies here at New Palestine,” Kehrt said.
Doud termed his matchups with Kehrt’s New Palestine boys back in the day as “major, major, battles. But fun, too.”
Kehrt is glad Doud has returned to the sideline.
“Steve and I became friends even though we were at rival schools,” Kehrt said. “I am really happy for him that he has a chance to be back in the game. And I’m sure his teams will benefit from his demeanor, work ethic and knowledge of the game.”
Longtime Mt. Vernon girls assistant Tom Kirby will remain on staff, said Doud, who would also like to retain Ashley Greulich, the MV junior varsity coach.
Doud’s standing as a Mt. Vernon teacher was a positive factor in the hire, according to MV co-athletic director Derek Shelton.
“I think it’s hard to run a program when you aren’t in the building,” Shelton said. “Overall, he’s a great coach. He knows his Xs and Os. He’s had a real good tenure as a coach, and we feel very fortunate to be able to have him in school and be able to hire him. We could not be happier.”
Almost immediately upon the end of his time with the Mt. Vernon boys, Doud was looking for a chance to get back into the game. A single dad, Doud has one son who is a senior basketball player at Lapel and another son who is a freshman at Mt. Vernon.
“I’ve been trying to figure out a way with my family and my kids and everything going on in my life,” he said. “My problem was my son plays on Lapel’s team. And I couldn’t go coach (boys) anywhere because if I did I’d miss all of his games. And I couldn’t do that, not as a father.”
“With the girls program, it works perfectly because there are very few conflicts with following my son.”
Doud’s younger son doesn’t play basketball, and dad said he’d like to add son as a manager for the girls team.
All in all, Doud is eager to get started. Again.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Doud said. “I think for me, my experience as a varsity coach and a boys coach is what I’m hoping will carry over to the girls and be an asset to the program and to the girls.”
>>New Mt. Vernon girls coach Steve Doud’s coaching record with the Rensselaer Central and MV boys programs.
Season School Won Lost Championship
1991-92 Rensselaer Central 19 3
1992-93 Rensselaer Central 15 7
1993-94 Rensselaer Central 10 12
1994-95 Rensselaer Central 15 8 sectional
1995-96 Rensselaer Central 13 8
1996-97 Mt. Vernon 12 10
1997-98 Mt. Vernon 11 11
1998-99 Mt. Vernon 17 7 sectional
1999-2000 Mt. Vernon 9 12
2000-01 Mt. Vernon 6 15
2001-02 Mt. Vernon 7 15
2002-03 Mt. Vernon 10 11
2003-04 Mt. Vernon 5 16
2004-05 Mt. Vernon 7 14
2005-06 Mt. Vernon 3 18